By Assan Bah
Victims of the demolition exercise in Brufut in the West Coast Region, have on Tuesday 13th December 2022, renewed their demands for compensation by those responsible for the destruction of their structures, in connection to the construction of OIC road projects.
Madam Amie Badjie, a victim, said since the demolition was done, she has not heard anything from the government on the earlier compensation promises made. She said she has a cassava farm which according to her, was grazed by cattle because of lack of proper fences.
“We had to buy second hand corrugated iron sheets to fence it, but that alone cannot prevent the cattle from intruding into the farm,” she explained.
Madam Badjie called on the government to fulfil their earlier compensation promises, adding: “We are calling on the government to fulfil their earlier compensation promises. It is not easy for someone who is poor to make ends meet, to incur to rebuild houses or fences that are demolished by the government. It is difficult for one to grow something which you expect to make a living, only for it to be consumed by animals.”
Ms Fatoumatta Drammeh, whose father’s compound was affected by the demolition, said: “We don’t expect the government to do demolition without compensation as we know the situation in the country is very hard and you don’t expect poor men to rebuild their houses when they are thinking of food to eat.”
According to Ms Drammeh, they had shops and saloons on the perimeter of the compound but all were demolished by the authorities without compensating them.
“The compensation should have been done before demolition but that was never the case here and we still did not hear from the government with regards to the compensation issue. We don’t have the financial resources to do the rebuilding on our own. We are calling on the government to make their compensation as soon as possible,” Ms Drammeh reiterated.
Mr Hatab Njie said: “Work has started but we have not received any compensation from the government. Some of the residents went to government officials to claim for their compensation. We will take steps against the government if there is no compensation done. We are taking our time as they ask us to be patient but if the work is completed and there is no compensation, we will look for ways to fight for our compensation.”
He revealed that they are suffering and urgently needs the government to compensate them. “We are suffering because of the demolition made without any compensation and we are reminding the government to compensate us, so that we can at least close the gaps in our compounds,” he added.
Mr Abdoulie Darboe, also a victim, said: “We have not received a butut from the government. Before the demolition started, we had a meeting at the Alkalo’s compound, where we were promised that there will be compensation after the demolition but is almost a month now and we have not received anything from the government.
According to one Foday Suwaneh, also a victim, said prior to the demolition, they were told that a paper will be sent to every victim of the demolition to state their losses but the paper they received from the Physical Planning Department did not contain anything which talks about compensation.
“They have now brought down our houses and fences, and since then, we did not hear or receive anything from the government and we don’t know how much we will receive from them,” He said.
He, however, welcomed the development but urged the government to expedite the work and also fulfil their compensation promises.
Meanwhile, efforts were made to engage the Physical Planning Department for comments but to no avail.