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MILTON MARGAI COLLEGE REPOSSESSES 223 ACRES OF LAND
The Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Dr. Dennis Sandy on Tuesday 23rd June 2020 officially presented the copy of the plan of the resurveyed 223 acres of land to the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology (MMCET) polytechnic, Goderich campus to the principal, staff, councilors and the community at the Great Hall of the Goderich campus in Freetown during which he disclosed that this is a new dawn in land administration in the country and that the event was to return the property to the college.
He recalled that when he was appointed by the President, he told him to sanitize the Ministry, that he has conducted similar exercises for Fourah Bay and Njala University Colleges respectively stressing that most of their lands were encroached on due to corruption and informed that his next stop is to inform the Attorney General and Minister of Justice about the issue but that the college would have to decide what next to do and the way out as the land is a state land belonging to government.
He also enlightened that the latest drone technology and Global Positioning System (GPS) was used to resurvey the land with precision with the drone flying as high as 300 feet, assured that the college would benefit immensely from the property, recalled that the first Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, Sir Milton Margai bought the land for the college that starts from the main Peninsula Road down to the Atlantic Ocean but lamented that over the years people have encroached on the land due to among others population growth and corruption.
Dr. Dennis Sandy further informed that the principal of the MMCET applied to the Ministry to resurvey the land which exercise took two weeks, affirmed that the process is very perfect as all the coordinates were captured including the Sierra Leone Survey beacons that clearly indicate that the land is state property reiterating that there would be no more business as usual.
The principal of MMCET, Dr. Philip John Kanu asserted that he has received a lot of support from government for the land, that the President is keenly interested in the issue, articulated that the day signifies a big development for the college as government plans to expand the college which is impossible without land, that he had engaged the Minister on the issue for the past three months and that government is now satisfied that the land has been resurveyed and that the College Council, that is representing government, would decide the best way out of the impasse.
Dr. Kanu continued that His Excellency the President is aware and well-informed about the issue, that government has secured funding from the Arab Bank to expand the college, that those who illegally acquired the land would be asked to vacate recalling that the college has been in court for the past ten years over the issue and spent over Le500 million.
He also commended the Ministry for being very professional and using modern technology to identify the beacons, that the land was gazatted with a payment plan and signatures of those who sold it underscoring that the college has retrieved all the documents relating to the land, appealed to old students of the college for support, revealed plans to fence the property after repossessing it to prevent encroachers and disclosed plans to construct hotels on the land for practical for the Hotel and Tourism Training Center and the hospitality industry.
The Principal reiterated that the college would be expanded to train the country’s middle-level manpower that would add value to technical/vocational education as well as transform the college to a Polytechnic University.
Dr. Philip Kanu also commended His Excellency the President for authorizing the Ministry of Lands to undertake the exercise and Ministry of Education for its support to the college, revealing that government has secured huge funds to expand the college that is impossible without land and recalled the 1959 Cabinet Papers and gazette on the issue underscoring that the resurveyed plan is the same as the original.
He also commended the survey team from the Ministry of Lands from their professionalism and seriousness to accomplish the task on time, that government is serious about promoting education, the community for their cooperation during the exercise, that the administration would not put up a fight but that his doors are open for discussions, recalled some years ago when some students and lecturers were detained at the Pademba Road Prison for protesting for the college land while a student died and continued that he wants to bring the college back to its former glory, facelift its facilities and transform it to a Polytechnic University to support the country’s middle-manpower needs.
The Chairman of the College Council, Dr. Victor Kabia disclosed that the late Sir Milton Margai paid the community and Sherbro people for the land and that the money was shared between the beneficiaries, that the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) donated the initial funds to construct the original buildings but affirmed that the college now wants to expand reiterating that since the Council is supervising the administration it does not want confrontation but negotiations.
The college’s registrar, Mr. Sheriffu Bangura chaired the event while presentation of the resurveyed plan climaxed the event.
The college’s Public Relations Officer, Elizabeth Sesay rendered the vote of thanks.