Foni Jarrol Residents Ask Nyoro Jarrol Community to Vacate Their Farmlands

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By Nelson Manneh

The Village Development Committee (VDC) of Jarrol in Foni Jarrol Constituency says it has asked the residents of Nyoro Jarrol to cease cultivating their (FoniJarrol) farmlands after this year’s farming season.

They made this demand in early September 2023 through a ‘Notice of Vacation’ seen by this medium. 

Foni Jarrol’s Alkalo briefed this reporter about the notice issued to Nyorro Jarrol in the face of a heated land dispute involving the two settlements, with the natives of Jarrol claiming ownership of farmlands within Nyoro Jarrol community, despite the two villages sharing the same Alkalo who resides in Jarrol.

The Alkalo of Jarrol Village, Mr Boye Sambou, told Foroyaa that Nyoro Jarrol is not a village of its own as it is part of Jarrol, adding that they pay their taxes to him and they are answerable to him as the village Alkalo.

Alkalo Sambou said the current settlers of Nyoro Jarrol came to settle there in 2012 and, as the alkalo of Jarrol Village, he was informed that they have settled in their territory.

“When these current settlers of Nyoro Jarrol came here, they told me that they want to settle on our farmlands and do farming there for their survival. As the Alkalo of Jarrol village, I told them that the farmlands belonged to us and the place is an old settlement and that there were families in Jarrol who were settling there and the lands there belonged to them,” he narrated.

The Alkalo said he further told them that if they wanted to settle just for farming, they were welcomed but none of the properties would be sold to them. 

“I even went on to tell them that let them not plant fruit trees there because the land does not belong to them which they adhered to,” Sambou told this medium.

He said the current settlers of Nyoro Jarrol came and settled there as they were allowed to use the said farmlands for their farming activities. 

“We never have an issue with them. We allowed them to settle there, but recently we have realized that they are abusing our farmlands, in fact, they were few in number, but now, there are many settlers in the area. 

“We are no longer comfortable with what they are doing on our farmlands. We cannot remove them on the lands they have already built their compounds on, but we want them to give the farm lands back to the owners,” he explained.

According to Alkalo Sambou, all the residents of Nyoro Jarrol admitted that they came to the place in 2012 and the lands given to them were not sold to them. 

“We don’t want anything from them, we only need our lands,” he emphasised.

One Touray Jarjue, also a native of Jarrol, said the properties belong to some families who live in Jarrol.

“Nyoro Jarrol is an old settlement, if you visit there you will find an old well and a graveyard there, even my late father was laid to rest in that graveyard. The current settlers know very well that those properties do not belong to them and they cannot claim ownership of the area,” he said.

Mr Jarjue said there is no problem between them and the current settlers of Nyoro Jarrol because they gave them the lands they are currently residing in. 

He added: “We want them to give us our farmlands. We cannot take the premises where they have already built their houses on, but the farmlands they are farming on belong to us and we need them.”

Balla Mbye, a resident of Nyoro Jarrol, said he was part of the first people who migrated and settled in Nyoro Jarrol. He said the said lands were given to them by the Alkalo and some elders of Jarrol.

“When we were coming here, none of these lands we are residing in today were sold to us. We were granted to live and do farming for a living on the lands because we are farmers,” he said.

Balla said when they came to Nyoro Jarrol the area was bushy, adding, “This area was a thick forest. We cleared the forest and started doing farming there, now that the area is cleared and developed; they are claiming ownership of the farmlands.”

Balla said all those residing in Nyoro Jarrol continue to pay their compound rates to the Alkalo of Jarrol. 

“We never claim ownership of any land, we don’t sell lands to anybody, the only worry we are faced with is that if we allow these people to take these farmlands, they may sell them and we will not have anywhere to farm,” he explained.

“We will never forgo these farmlands; we will continue to reside here. We will not sell any property to anybody who wants to come and settle here,” he said.

He said the Alkalo of Arankoli  Kunda Village and Jarrol went to Noyro Jarrol and put some pegs along the farmlands claiming that where the pegs were put is the border of the two villages. 

“They came and divided our farmlands claiming that where they put the pegs is the border of the two villages,” he alleged.        

Anna Mbye, a native of Nyoro Jarrol, said they were invited to a meeting by the Alkalo of Jarrol Village where they were allegedly forced to sign a document to indicate that the said lands did not belong to them.

“When we were coming here nobody gave us a document to sign. Why now? We are not claiming ownership of any land here because we are not interested in selling any land but we will not vacate any farmland because we were the very ones who cleared the farmlands,” he said.

Picture: Farmlands in Dispute 

According to Mbye, it is true that the place looks like an old settlement but that does not justify that the farmlands they cleared belong to families in Jarrol Village. 

“Come rain come sunshine we are not vacating any farmland,” he warns.

Meanwhile, the Village Development Committee of Jarrol Village has sent a notice to the residents of Nyoro Jarrol community to vacate their properties and a copy of the letter was sent to the Office of the Governor of West Coast Region, the Ministry of Lands and the Chief of Foni Jarrol District.

Foroyaa will make a follow-up to the office of the West Coast Region Governor and subsequently update its readers.