25 January 2013

Liberia: Land Commission Gives Local People Hope for Land Ownership

The Land Commission (LC) has assured ordinary Liberians that their rights will be protected in the land ownership of the country. Speaking Thursday, January 24, 2013 at the end of a three-day regional consultative meeting on the draft Land Rights Policy, the LC Vice Chairman Mr. Walter Wisner, said the rights of the local people need to be protected in when it comes to the land ownership of this country.

The consultative meeting, began Tuesday, January 22, 2013 was held at the Monrovia City Hall. Commission Wisner said customary land, which belongs to the ordinary Liberians will be greatly respected. According to him, before any company operates on such a land, it must first meet the consensus of the local people who reside in that area.

Said Commission Wisner: "We will protect our local people in term of land ownership. Before any company operates on any customary land, it must first consult with the ordinary people." "It is about time that the rights of ordinary Liberians be protected in the land ownership of this country," he pointed out.

Speaking further, he called on Liberians to be each other brothers' keeper in discouraging the act of selling one parcel of land two or more times. He also urged Liberians to properly investigate before purchasing land so that they do not buy land that has already been sold to another person.

Meanwhile, in the draft Land Rights Policy, the Land Commission is recommending four basic categories of land rights which include Public Land, Government Land, Customary Land and Private Land.

Also in the draft policy, the Land Commission recommends nine overriding principles which are: (1) Secure Land Rights, (2) Economic Growth, (3) Equitable Benefits, (4) Equal Access, (5) Equal Protection, (6) Environmental Protection, (7) Clarity, (8) Participation, and (9) Evidence-Based. The 15 Counties of Liberia have been grouped into six regions based on their geographic locations.

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