Disgruntled victims at the Jabang Estate whose houses were demolished by the Department of Physical Planning and Housing have called for “absolute compensation” from the government for ordering the demolition of their houses after short notice of evictions.
The Department of Physical Planning and Housing on Monday commenced what is believed to be a mass demolition exercise of houses believed to be built on waterways at Jabang.
This move came following the recent flooding in July which ruined some homes in the community.
Meanwhile, victims who lamented their frustrations to this medium said that the Department of Physical Planning and Housing only served them a notice of two days to leave or have their houses on which they spent millions to build destroyed on Monday 22 August 2022.
The notice further said that “upon failure on your part to comply with this notice, the Planning Authority will arrange for the building or fence to be removed or demolished and charge the cost of such removal or demolition to you.”
The Monday demolition exercise has left many victims and inhabitants of Jabang devastated, particularly those living at the Estate.
“I am very disappointed because they’ve not informed us on time. Even if it is a government directive, it is important to give that consideration to the people living here and give them a good timeline notice that will enable the people to relocate to anywhere they are going to relocate to and then take necessary action,” said Abass Bah, a victim.
He said they are calling for restitution, compensation and to ensure that it is duly done so that nobody is affected.
“Nobody is anti-development. The floods affected us and we know the reason and we need to be engaged in that development. They can’t just wake up on Monday morning when everybody is at work, and come to dismantle everything and send our families into the streets.”
Asked whether Physical Planning talked about any compensation, he replied that one Mr. Alieu Badjie from the Department said they had an evaluator who was evaluating all the costs and that they would discuss with the authorities to see how best they could compensate them.
According to him, those were verbal communications which nobody could rely on.
Fatou Kinneh Ndow, another victim, said she wasn’t served with a notice yet had her compound fence demolished.
“What I understand is that the demolishers demolished my fence so that they can have a way to get to the other identified places. It’s very painful for not serving me notice and later come to demolish my fence for no reason.”
“They don’t know how much I struggled to build my house for myself and my family, yet they came to destroy some parts of my house for no just cause.”
Ansuman Darboe, another victim, said that the demolition of his compound is very unfortunate, noting that he initially took it as a joke because the notice was too short.
“I got my land through Social Security. I believed Social Security went through a process in which they involved physical planning before allocating the land to us. My belief is that if they feel that our houses are on a waterway they should go back to the Social Security and tell them that the lands or plots given to the identified people are on the waterway and we find a solution to it.”
“They gave us a notice on Saturday and on Monday they came to demolish my house. So where did they want us to stay now? They should engage us earlier about 6 months or get us a place before starting the exercise.
Mr. Darboe, who said he spent millions building his compound called for complete compensation for the destruction to his house by the Physical Planning.
According to an official of the Physical Planning and Housing, who were accompanied to the exercise by the National Disaster Management on Monday, the moves were ordered from the “top”.
“These orders were given to us from the top. The identified houses or places are those that are blocking the waterways, causing floods in the area,” said one official from the Physical Planning Department.