Lower Niumi Court members survey disputed farm land

By Sailu Bah

The court members of the Lower Niumi District Tribunal yesterday 12 May 2015 Alkali Bala Mannehvisited the disputed farmland claimed by the Alkalo of Maka Village, Balla Manneh.

Balla Manneh has sued Ebou Jobe a resident of Ndungu Kebbeh to the Lower Numi District for felling the cashew trees planted on his farmland.

During the proceedings of 23 April 2015 Balla Manneh testified that he has title to the land on which the cashew trees were grown and has been in possession of it since the year 2000 when the then tribunal affirmed his title to the suit land.

In his testimony, while acknowledging that he did fell the cashew trees, the defendant Ebou Jobe told the tribunal that he owns the land on which the cashew trees are planted.

The District Tribunal, presided over by Fabakary Nana Sonko, directed that a task force goes to survey the suit land on which the cashew trees were planted.

On Tuesday 13 May 2015, a task force of three, appointed by the tribunal, converged at the suit land at Maka Village to determine whether the suit land belongs to Balla Manneh or not. Elders from Maka village and Ndungu Kebbeh also converged at the scene to serve as witnesses of both parties.

Upon conclusion of their survey which took a couple of hours, Kebba Demba, the head of the task force said they have checked everything on the suit land; that they will give the chief feedback and that the matter will be dealt with by the Tribunal in its next sitting.

Some elders from Maka village said the land is allocated for the community for Pastoral Farming, but claimed that their Alkalo uses it for his personal farming. The Alkalo denied using any land allocated for pastoral farming, while asserting that the land is his own land. He showed the task force land beside the suit land which said is allocated and has been used all these years for pastoral farming. There was heated argument between the Alkalo and some village elders.

Kebba Demba, head of the task force, told them that they are not there to make judgment but to conduct a survey and make recommendations. He advised them to come to the tribunal to lay their complaints.

The Tribunal will proceed on Thursday 14 May 2015 at Essau, Lower Niumi.