Tusu United Youth Association, a youth group claiming support of the larger society of Quardu-Gboni District in Lofa County, said it rejects action by the government to impose the Liberia Cocoa Corporation on the locals.
The youth group indicated that it will accept any forcefully imposed any concession agreement on behalf of Liberia Cocoa Corporation and it stands ready to resist the concession by all means available within the confines of the law.
It can be recalled that on September 30, 2014, citizens of Quardu- Gboni petitioned the legislature to totally trash out the LCC concession agreement. On November 15,2014, approximately 15,000 citizens of the area gathered in Samodu Town, the district headquarters to present a resolution to Vice President Joseph Boakai which constituted committee headed by the Minister of Agriculture Dr. Zayzay Zubah to reject the concession.
The citizens in their numbers again assembled at the same venue on the 27th of March this year in reaffirming to ghe government its earlier position on the LCC. Addressing a news conference in Monrovia over the weekend, the national executive committee of the group, Valayee V. Dukuly, noted that the act by Mr. Momolu Tolbert, CEO of the corporation to initially engage the citizens of Quardu-Gboni district before heading to the government including the quick passage of the concession agreement through the upper House of the 53rd Legislature to the lower House, proves that the intent of the concession agreement is far beyond agricultural investment.
“Failure of the LCC to fulfill their promises made to the people of Sazanor Toen is a dear indication that everything they made mentioned of in the concession are all deceptive statements and a medium to cleverly take over our land without any benefit to us as people and citizens of the Quardu Gboni district”, he stated.
According to him, the procedure leading to the negotiation contradicted section one of the concession agreement which states under the definitions of terms that an opened and inclusive process be conducted in the native language of the participants for the exchange of information, ideas and viewpoints about the potential benefits and impacts of the project contemplated under the agreement be done, and that the parties involved shall strive for full disclosure of relevant information in advance to any decision to be taken during a community consultation.
He alleged that the LCC is seeking 6,000 hectares of land in Quardu-Gboni district to plant cocoa for the period of forty years, subject to extension of previously signed agreement with the citizenry of Sazanor Town in the same district for the sole purpose of carrying on a pilot project on 6,000 acres of land which is currently ongoing in the area.
“Looking at the aforesaid, to see this very concession agreement resurfacing at the national legislature just a week after the recusal of speaker J. Alex Tyler, sends out a message that this is not all about someone wishing to engage in agricultural activities in the district, it sends a lot of negative signal to us citizens,” he lamented.
He said making Quardu Gborni an independent state is more preferable for citizens than being occupied by a caricature investment company like the Liberia Cocoa Corporation.
When contacted to respond to the issue, the acting public relations officer of the cocoa corporation, Mohammed D.K. Kanneh expressed his boss unwillingness to comment on said issue on grounds that they are engaged in other activities.
By: R. Joyclyn Wea