A prominent citizen of Tappita Statutory District in Nimba County has appealed to the authorities of the county to compensate citizens of Tappita and other cities affected by road rehabilitation in the county.
Cllr. Cooper W. Kruah told a news conference Thursday that the concerns of the affected citizens must be taken seriously as a county. Road rehabilitation work embarked upon by the county leadership to modernize six major cities has led to the destruction of properties of several citizens.
Affected citizens and residents of Tappita city and other cities had since complained over the manner in which they have been treated over the demolition of their homes without compensations.
However, Cllr. Kruah said those who homes were demolished are entitled to compensation from the county leadership, citing Article 24 of the Liberian Constitution.
“As a result of the road rehabilitation, private properties were destroyed without any compensation or relocation arrangement for those affected,” he said.
“In our view, if the county leadership decided to carry on such development in the city, affected private property owners must be compensated in keeping with the law.”
Cllr. Kruah has also suggested that each of the affected cities should be compensated with at least US$300,000 for the damages done in those cities. He said the leadership of Nimba was no exception when the central government can compensate those affected by its road construction projects.
“It is a violation of the law if the people are not compensated. The county leadership should set side appropriations for those affected. The leadership should appeal to the Legislative caucus for each city to this amount in keeping with the law. The leadership had not showed any effort made in this regard,” he said.
“The development superintendent of the county should know that those affected citizens in the various cities need compensation. We sought the intervention of the supreme court to place a stay-order on the road project in Tappita because such massive destruction of private properties cannot go ahead without those affected being compensated.”
“From the preliminary markings by the county authority, more than 147 citizens are currently affected with over 218 structures under threats. Before the project ends, more than 900 homes will be destroyed.”
Some residents are demanding compensation from the county administration before demolishing their properties, basing their argument on Article 24a (ii) of the Liberian Constitution which requires “prompt payment of just compensation” when citizens’ properties are repossessed.
(iii) That such expropriation or the compensation offered may be challenged freely by the owner of the property in a court of law with no penalty for having brought such action.
The road project had come to a momentary standstill in Tappita city as a result of a stay order from the Supreme Court, also necessitated by official complaint filed by concerned citizens of the city.
Some affected citizens in those cities had earlier threatened to commit suicide if they lost their properties, while others said they would leave to live in the forest because they have nowhere to live.