22 January 2013

Liberia: Clara Town Residents Protest - MPW 'Selective' Structures Demolition Exercise

Affected residents in the Clara Town Community of the ongoing Ministry of Public Works latest demolition of structures for the construction of community and neighborhood roads are foaming with extreme rage and disenchantment, and mounting strong protest against the exercise, accusing the ministry of being selective in the process.

The residents, in expressing their dissatisfaction over the demolition exercise, called on the Ministry to stop the exercise or face a lawsuit.

The residents` disenchantment nearly degenerated into religious feud when the team from the Ministry of Public Works demolished portion (front view) of a Mosque in the community and left out a church.

According to the official figure of 50 meter as dimension of neighborhood roads, all properties should be demolished including the Clara Town Store which housed the Sonia Pharmacy.

A resident of the community, Mohammed E. Fahnbulleh who spoke with this paper said though it is painful to break down homes to give way to development, it is equally uncalled-for, to leave out other homes that fall within 50 meters across the board range, adding "no one is above the law."

"We are disenchanted by the selection process of houses to be demolished by the technical team of the MPW. The failed to break down marked houses, as such action only puts the residents at loggerhead with one another, " Fahnbulleh said angrily.
Fahnbulleh who represented cross section of the young people in the area further indicated that the community would file an injunction against the demolition exercises should the team continue to leave out marked houses untouched.
He said concerns raised by the community suggest that the measurement be reestablished to reflect fairness, including the compensation of occupants of marked houses.

The representative of the Clara Town community residents said leaving Clara Town Store outside of the demolition exercise is another bone of contention that may spark serious disagreement with the MPW technical team in charge of the exercise.
"To avoid tension in the community marked building must be demolished. We will seek legal redress to bring the situation to an end; and we will not adapt to violence but will file a writ of prohibition to put a halt to the exercise", Mr. Fahnbulleh said.
Giving an estimate of affected families, Mr. Fahnbulleh said about 75 to 100 homes and 1000 occupants are affected by the demolition exercise.

He used the occasion to call on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Public Works to provide information as to this exercise because lack of information breeds tension.

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