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-Kpalla Citizens Bemoan Seizure of Their Land
This paper has gathered that citizens of Kpalla, Brewerville in Montserrado County are planning serious protest against the Liberian Government over claim of alleged seizure of their land to relocation residents of the township of West Point.

Following recent sea erosion that hit West Point community that made several homeless, President Sirleaf said her government is concerned about the situation.
The Liberian Government has since embarked on the construction of temporary homes in the VOA Community in Virginia, outside Monrovia to relocate the homeless from West Point.

About 1,779 families, who "voluntarily signed a petition" seeking relocation will be repatriated to the new location. Construction works have since started on the land. The temporary structures with a concrete foundation roofed with zinc will have two bedrooms and a porch.

In reaction, residents of Kpalla, the community whose portion of land is being allegedly encroached on by government said their rights have been violated by the government because there have been no previous consultation concerning their property.

The chief administrator of the property, Sebestine Kemokai noted that though they are not against the residents of West Point, but the action by the government to forcefully take their land for the construction of the houses for the victims is a complete violation and they vowed that they would pursue all means to get their land.
“This is the violation of the rights of the people of Kpalla. The action by the government doesn’t show any respect. The residents of the Jallah Barkon’s estate should have been the first point of contact,” he said.

According to Kemokai, the action by the Sirleaf’s administration is to deny the people of Kpalla them of their land.  Giving the historicity of the land, he said the 320 acres of land has been deeded since 1906 during the administration of President Arthur Barclay.

According documents in possession of the New Republic, controversies over this registered land belonging to the late Jallah Barkon, who was born in 1823 at the Providence Island and died in 1935, is dated as far as 1980.

“There have been lots of conspiracies against us over this property by the Liberian Government. The property was first taken from us in 1980 and we made a comeback against President Samuel Kanyon Doe in 1985,” Kemokai added.

A land deed signed by the late President Arthur Barclay in 1906 showed that the land belongs to Jallah Barkon, owner of Kpalla Town. “This is to certify that the within document is a true and correct copy of a Government Grant Deed from the Republic of Liberia to Chief Jallah Barkon and his people all of the County of Montserrado as recount in volume 29 page 329 of the Records of Montserrado County filed in the archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Christopher Minikon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1906 and Augustine Jallah, Director of Archives in 1906.

Controversy took place during the administration of President William V. S. Tubman when large portion of the land was given to the Voice of America for the construction of its relay station in Brewerville without compensating the people of the land.

According to the document in our possession which is signed by the then Legal Counsellor, Samuel McIntosh at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Liberia in 1987, the United States Embassy granted a survey of the Kpalla’s land in collaboration with Fredrick Cook, the administrative officer.

The document said the late President Arthur Barclay was fully aware of the Kpalla’s land prior to his demise. “As the said Arthur Barclay President of the Republic of Liberia as aforesaid and my successors in office will forever warrant and defend the said lands to the said Chief Jallah Barkon and inhabitants of Kpalla their heirs and against the lawful claims of all persons claiming any part of the granted premises,” President Arthur Barclay in 1906.

Meanwhile, Kemokai who said they are troubled by the latest encroachment by the government said the government means well, they should be treated with due diligence or else they will stage peaceful protests for their land.

When contacted, authority at the National Housing Authority (NHA) said as far as they are concerned, the land in question belongs to the Liberian Government. The Director of Communication, Maxwell David quoting the Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Prince Wreh urged the aggrieved Kpalla’s residents to provide ‘title deed’ to substantial their claims.

According to David, if it is proven that the land which the temporary housing units for the ‘homeless’ from West Point belongs to the citizens, they will immediately embark on consultation.

By Reuben Sei Waylaun 

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