The Village Development Committee (VDC) of New Yundum has issued a statement warning the members of the national assembly members who accepted plots of land offered by the government of President Adama Barrow to return it in order to avert any actions that could threaten national security.
This warning is part of eight key demands highlighted by the community which also asked the government to cease gifting out community lands to people.
“…we recommend and as well demand the following for due consideration from the authorities, in order to allay or avert any future conflicts that may compromise the Peace and Security of the country.
“The authorities make available all documents how the land was acquired detailing all the facts and procedures that were channelled.
“The ownership of the remaining part of the Land to be transferred to the community of New Yundum.
“The said area to be henceforth addressed as New Yundum and not Old Yundum for there is no other settlement that can claim ownership of the lands except the rightful owners, New Yundum.
“Work activities on the lands to be halted till all pending investigations are exhausted.
“All land matters to be treated with a greater sense of urgency and prudence in order to avert delayed justice – for just delay is justice denied!
“All community reserve lands not to be used by anyone individually or for any residential purposes just for personal benefits or gains.
“The State to stop giving Plots of lands for free to undeserving people, agencies or institutions like that of members of the National Assembly which is and cannot be justified under any condition.
“Last but the least, that for all National Assembly members to return the Plots of land they are offered the soonest possible time for they MUST understand that their position of being National Assembly Members is not a privilege one and not in any way should they be accorded any special treatment of self-enrichment or aggrandisement.”
The land in question is located on the Kombo Coastal Road opposite the Yaranbamba Housing Estate in New Yundum, measuring approximately over 1000/500 meters.
According to the committee, the area was a sacred territory used by their ancestral Kings (Mansas) of Yundum before being turned into farm lands used by its indigenes.
The Chairman of the VDC who signed the statement, Alhagie H. Ceesay says they’ve observed some unnatural activities that started to unfold on the land which has prompted our swift action.
“Our role as a VDC amongst other things includes the development activities within our community and in this circumstance development in it regarding land issues must be of paramount relevance to our existence as a committee and community.
“It must be noted that land is a source of livelihood and an emblem of wealth everywhere which this part of Gambia is not exception to, therefore any undue process in acquiring it by any foreign hand from any unauthorised body (s) would be a cause to fanning the flames of instability,” he said.
He expressed dismay, disappointment and frustration over the ‘unlawful allocations of plots’ belonging to the community of New Yundum to government officials including the members of the National Assembly.
“We truly find this regrettable and utterly unease of how insensitive our own Public officials are, so National Assembly Members could venture into such an act of rubbing the very people they are to serve genuinely. We wonder where we will end up as a country when the apex law making body is bent on such a dubious activity without considering the plight of the very people who elected them into position.”
He said the act of addressing the area as Old Yundum/Airport Estate instead of its customary name Yarambamba or New Yundum is a quest to manoeuvre around their plight as a community, which they assumed is all done to change ownership of a community.
The Committee also claimed that since 1947, they were not compensated by the government when their land was taken for airport construction which led to physical relocation of the entire community twice to present day Old Yundum.
The Department of Agriculture and Crop Protection Services, Yundum College (Now referred to as the Yundum Barracks), Yundum Police, Farm Yard (Now referred to as Banjulinding Women’s Garden) etc are also claimed by the VDC as being part of their territory that was never compensated.