By Fatou Sanneh
The Minister of Lands and Regional Governments has called on Alkalolu to be mindful of lands reserved for future expansion and development, as well as to be vigilant of indiscriminate cutting down of trees in the forests.
Mr Aba Sanyang is on a nationwide familiarisation tour of project intervention areas and institutions under his responsibility.
In the Upper River Region, the chiefs commended the Hon Minister for being the first minister of the sector to ever tour the whole country and held meetings at each district with the district authorities. They took the opportunity to thank the government through the minister for the recent introduction of monthly salary to the Alkalolu.
Permanent Secretary, Buba Sanyang intimated that selection of Alkalo is the mandate of the Hon. Minister in consultation with the governor and chief, putting into consideration the traditional line of inheritance. He stressed that no Alkalo has the mandate to select or dissolve a Village Development Committee (VDC) member, pointing out that there are procedures and protocols to be followed.
Permanent Secretary advised badge messengers to work amicably with any chief under whose office they are appointed, adding that they owe allegiance to the office of the chief and not the office occupant.
He also advised chiefs that there are laws and procedures to remove a badge messenger from his/her position, adding that they are public servants and should be treated as such. “They should not be sacked without a written warning letter, in which the governor should be copied,” he stressed.
PS urged that every village with a population of above 100 people to have a Village Development Committee for the purpose of rolling out and strengthening decentralisation and effective community development. He also urged the communities to take ownership of NGO projects implemented in the various communities. He advised them to be mindful of fake NGOs and always consult the regional field staff posted at the regions.
For the governor of Upper River Region, Mr. Samba Bah, people should stop fighting over land. He advised Alkalolu to timely intervene in land disputes to avoid escalation of the problem.
He finally appealed to the Minister to provide uniforms for the badge messengers of the chiefs for the recognition of their work.
The Village Development Committee Chairman of Sando appealed to the government to organise trainings for the VDCs on their roles and responsibilities, in order to strengthen their capacities in service delivery. He also appealed for creation of skill centres to minimise the rate of unemployment.