A dozen farmers in Yarmein Administrative District, Nimba County have been presented with Public Land Sale Deeds in acknowledgement of their traditional land ownership.
The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) in collaboration with ArcelorMittal Liberia (AML) presented the public sale deeds to 12 farmers who live in Gbapa and Zolowee Towns.
The June10 2022 program was held at the Gbapa Town Hall and together with high profile delegates from ArcelorMittal Liberia, Liberia Land Authority as well as many farmers.
Giving the objective of the process, the Oversight Commissioner of LLA for Nimba, Bong and Lofa Counties, Cllr. Kula L. Jackson said that the occasion was intended to legalize the people's land ownership, considering how cardinal the Land Sector is to sustaining Liberia's peace.
Presenting the 12 deeds to the farmers at the ceremony, the National Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority, Cllr. J. Adam Manobah described the process as the Liberian Government's own way of upholding the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, the PAPD.
According to Cllr. Manobah, the process will also positively contribute to the farmers' economic status as they legally get into leasing agreement and partnership with AML.
The LLA boss indicated that considering the many conflicts coming from the land sector in the country, the government through its leadership is handling every land matter with care and consciousness.
Cllr. Manobah informed the gathering that if the Land Sector and issues arising from the communities are not handled with high level of care, Liberia's next civil war may generate from there.
He then encourage the farmers who received the deeds to continue to pay taxes to government and remain in good standing with the government.
'Continuous compliance with your obligation to pay your taxes will enable you to keep your legal ownership", he added.
Also, AML's lawyer, Cllr. Boakai Paegar said ArcelorMittal decided to pre-pay on behalf of the farmers to have them legalize their ownership and be in good standing with the law.
Cllr. Paegar wants the rest of the farmers who were not presented deeds to ensure that they get involved into the second phase of the process which is expected shortly.
Cllr Paegar saids: "ArcelorMittal is not willing to do business with anyone who operates out of the law".
He further mentioned that AML has had previous considerations for the sake of peaceful coexistence, but stressed that "at time, the legal process should be considered so that international best practice is achieved".
Meanwhile, the farmers who received the deeds thanked AML and the Liberia Land Authority for the initiative.
The farmers said the event was "rewarding" and a total demonstration of commitment to work with community's affected by ArcelorMittal's operations
They also noted that the process has now made them "proud and legitimate land owners" owing to the great help from AML and the LLA.
The farmers then encouraged the rest of their colleagues to form a part of phase 2 of the Public Land Sale Deed initiative to avoid future burdens.