By Amara Thoronka
Gambia’s Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Silah, has said the Minister of Lands acted in accordance with the law, citing sections from the country’s constitution and land regulatory framework.
He made the statement on Tuesday 26th April 2022 in the ‘Coffee Time’ radio program hosted by Peter Gomez. Information Minister Ebrima Silah and the Government Spokesperson, Ebrima Sankareh, were making clarifications on the recent government land allocation.
“The Minister of Lands acted within the powers vested in him in accordance with the law. The allocation is legal. The land in question was already a state land. It was not confiscated from a community, but rather it was returned to the State through legal process,” he said.
Responding to him being allocated land by government, Mr. Sillah said Ministers are also citizens and are therefore entitled to get State land, noting that this is his first time of benefitting from such allocation.
“Ministers like other Gambians are also entitled to the allocation of land by the State. I have never benefitted from a state allocation. In fact, even this one, it is not an allocation but rather a compensation. I had a land in Tanji very close to the sea. It is bigger and more valuable than what I have been compensated with. I lost it to the State during Yahya Jammeh’s era,” the Information Minister stated.
The Minister pointed out that most of the people opposing the recent land allocation had directly or indirectly benefitted from similar allocations made by previous governments.
“In the past, parents, siblings and relatives of most of those condemning the allocation were given land. Most of them were born and raised in houses built on state land. So, it is unfortunate to hear such people condemning what they benefitted from simply because some of President Barrow’s officials are being given state land,” he explained.
He emphasized that Government has compensated him for the land taken from him by the previous administration.
“I put up an application to the government, asking for land allocation since they had taken away my land. Governance is continuity. So, I have been compensated,” the Minister said.
In his statement, Gambia Government Spokesperson, Ebrima Sankareh refuted claims that the Gambian Government has allocated Monkey Park to the United States Embassy.
“The most important thing is that the land was never allocated to the Embassy. The rumour is false and misleading,” he stressed.