Tranquil lands scuffle: state urged to intervene

Dec 24, 2020, 12:55 PM | Article By: Adama Tine

The secretary general of Bijilo Tranquil Land Owners Group, Sulayman Badjie, has told The Point in an interview that they’ll never vacate their homes following the ongoing land scuffle between them and Bernd George Diedrich – a German national.

According to Mr. Badjie, they all purchased their plots of land at Bijilo from bona fide traditional owners after careful, due diligent search on the properties.

“We have a firm belief that as citizens of a state, we deserve some kind of protection. This is why we appeal to Adama Barrow and his government to come intervene and solve this land dispute amicably,” urged Mr. Badjie.

He added that the same search cleared the way for them to purchase the properties and after the plots of lands were bought, they proceeded to develop their respective plots with buildings worth millions of dalasis.

George, however, claimed ownership of the said lands, consisting of 22 plots. And since then they have been in a protracted land dispute with him (George).

The matter was taken to court by George and a verdict was delivered in 2012 in George’s favour.

“We were not party to this case, we were not aware or served any judicial proceeding we only knew about the court case the day they came to evict us with a lorry full of police intervention personnel in riot gears and with guns without allowing us exercise our rights to stay of execution and appeal of the judgement,” Badjie noted.

Upon eviction, we wrote a petition to the then President which led to the formation of an investigative panel that came up with their reports.

According to him, the report concluded that all their properties be returned to them and that Mr. George be compensated with land at another location within the greater Banjul area.

Mr. Badjie further explained that the matter was amicably resolved and they were told to go ahead and lease their properties.

“After the change of government, to our surprise, we received a notice from the Honourable Sheriff Division asking us to vacate.”

“We think it’s very unfair and unjust and not in the interest of justice, peace and fair play that Mr. George has been fully compensated but is still trying to evict us from the lands we legally bought and spent millions to develop.”

“Our ardent desire is to enjoy the fruit of our investment in peace and tranquility in our mother land. We don’t have the words to express what we are going through because of the magnitude of pain and frustration.”

“This is why we consider it dutiful on us as responsible law abiding citizens to revert back our government, all genuine and concerned citizens with the means and power to help solve this unending frustration we as family heads are facing at the time” he noted.”

“We have a firm belief that as citizens of a state, we deserve some kind of protection. This is why we appeal to Adama Barrow and his government to come intervene and solve this land dispute amicably.”

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