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GAMBIA: CPG EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DEMOLITION EXERCISE

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Concern has been expressed by the Coalition of Progressive Gambians regarding the Physical Planning Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Lands’ recent approval of demolition activities. The operations have led to the demolishment of numerous structures that were determined to be unlawfully built and impeding movement.

A portion of the group’s statement that was provided to The Standard reads as follows: “Our concern is why the individuals have been permitted to occupy these areas while paying the GRA and the KMC, given the close proximity of these areas to public spaces and highways, without being notified about the unauthorized occupation. It is illogical to consider the situation in Busumbala, where a family was forcibly evicted from a compound after decades of paying rent and residing there. This cannot be tolerated in a progressive society.

As a result, it would have been highly appropriate for the authorities to initiate a dialogue with the victims of this exercise prior to the commencement of the demolition process. Considering the substantial financial investment and structural damage incurred by those who were profoundly impacted, we continue to urge the authorities to do so. Furthermore, we strongly advise proprietors and businesses that have infringed upon legally defined boundaries to cease their actions and adhere to the law.

Land and location are notoriously scarce in a country of less than 12,000 square kilometers; therefore, land allocation must be a top priority in physical planning, in consultation with local government authorities. It is time to recognize that land is the most vital natural resource and that it must be treated with the uttermost importance, since land issues are the source of nearly all global conflicts.”

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