By Adama Makasuba
Residents of Jabang have expressed sadness over the demolition of their houses by the government through the Department of Physical Planning without any court order. The residents complained of two days’ notice, adding they should have been notified for three months for them to properly get prepared for re-location.
The demolition comes following last month’s devastating flash floods which destroyed dozens of houses and foodstuffs. Experts linked the flood to climate change and unidentified settlements of people on waterways blocking the flow of rain waters.
Ansumana Darboe, a resident, described the government action as a ‘violation of their fundamental human rights and vowed to challenge the action with his attorney in a court of law.
“They started demolishing our homes and fences. They said we built on waterways without permission and they want to demolish our homes and fences. I got this home through Social Security like all my neighbors.
“We didn’t commit any wrong because all of us got our homes through the legal means. And I believe such actions should come through a court order. The court should give an order and there should be a time frame of three months. But you come to me in just two days and demolish my home. So, where will I live with my family, they want to make me and my family suffer. And some of them have no respect, some of them were even laughing, they have no remorse,” he said.
“We didn’t receive any court order and I understand the order came from Physical Planning. I have been living here since 2014 and they haven’t come to me and said this place is a waterway until now. This is craziness, you cannot just jump overnight to demolish people’s homes who have spent millions of dalasis.
“This is forcefully evicting me from my house which I have obtained legally. My next step is I have consulted my lawyer and he is going to take the next step. I want to urge the government to take responsibility, we all have rights that should not be. This is my sister’s home who is living in Europe and I cannot understand why we will demolish our homes.
“The PIU came with a letter telling us they would only demolish part of the compound but when they came, they started demolishing the whole compound. So, now where will I go to live this summertime? They should have issued us a notice for a month and this is so unfair. We have been living here for five years and Jabang has been flooding for years,” Fatoumatta Bah, also a Jabang resident, described the act as unfair, adding they would be left homeless for the rest of the rainy season.