19 September 2017

Liberia: 'Liberia's Land Problem Needs Proper Legal Framework'

The USAID-Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) chief of party has said that Liberia's land sector needs to be addressed in an appropriate manner in order to prevent potential land conflicts.

Dr. Yohannes Gebremedlin said government also has to put in place adequate policies and a proper legal framework to peacefully handle land related crises. Dr. Gebremedlin, who has worked in the land sector in many countries around the world, made the assertion last Friday in his address during a one-day training for the Association of Judicial Reporters (AJUR).

The training, held at the offices of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) in Monrovia, was intended to improve journalists' reporting on the Criminal Conveyance of Land Law passed in 2014.

The LSGA's chief of party suggested that the country does not only need proper policies and legal framework, it also has to ensure that those responsible for handling the sector should have the necessary capacities and willingness to tackle land issues.

"Land issues are very complicated especially in developing countries, but a lot has to be done by those in power to address any future land conflicts," Gebremedlin maintained.

AJUR members at the training

According to the USAID-LGSA chief of party, to actualize the criminal conveyance laws and avoid future conflicts, people in authority should make sure that the law is implemented to the letter. "There should be no impunity to the implementation of the law, and government should ensure that those convicted must face the full weight," Gebremedlin suggested.

He said implementing the law becomes more complicated if it is left unaddressed for a long time because the longer the law remains out of use, the more its potential to make a serious impact on the peace, security and economic development of the country is eroded. The criminal conveyance law provides between five to ten years for those convicted of said crimes.

Adams Manobah, LLA Commissioner on Land Policy and Planning, urged journalists to contribute meaningfully in their coverage of land related activities and the criminal conveyance laws. "The media is the pillar of the country and you need to help in creating awareness on the usage of the law and its consequences," Manobah emphasized.

Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, who was one of the facilitators, reminded journalists to adequately utilize the law, because it will help to reduce the many illegal sale of land by criminal elements in the country.

Earlier, AJUR president, Abednego Davis, urged his colleagues to take advantage of the training and to help in the dissemination of the criminal conveyance laws in the country. "As we acquire this knowledge, we have to effectively and efficiently use it to focus our reporting on those convicted by the law," Davis noted, adding, "we have to make the ordinary people to understand that double sale of land is illegal and has the potential to create future conflicts in the country."

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