By Morris Karneh, LINA Grand Cape Mount County Correspondent |
The longstanding land dispute between the peoples of Madina Town and Nimba Point in Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County has been amicably resolved with both sides agreeing to live together in peace.
During a dialogue held on November 4, citizens and residents of both communities embraced one another, especially when the residents of Nimba Point admitted that they exhibited some level of dishonesty during past negotiations.
Citizens of Madina Town in Garwula District have over the years repeatedly reminded Nimba Point residents that they (Madina people) provided squatter rights to them, something Nimba Point residents have persistently denied.
Following the recently brokered peace between the two towns, other surrounding towns, including Kon Town, Kaylia, Dendenway, Baaka and Seinie, agreed that they share common boundary with Madina Town, and admitted that the Town is one of the oldest settlements in the area.
Speaking on behalf of residents of Nimba Point, the chairlady of the Sime Darby Plantation Project-Affected Communities, Madam Yamah Augustine, who resides in Nimba Point, apologized on behalf of the people to their Madina Town neighbors.
Madam Augustine said their apology comes from their hearts because, according to her, for far too long their community has misplaced the facts about their existence as neighbors.
She noted that the misinformation in the entire land dispute was a result of some town authorities and elders who had exhibited dishonesty in brokering peace between the two communities.
“Some of our chiefs and elders are very dishonest to the people of Nimba Point,” Madam Augustine noted, adding that now that the truth is being exposed by all sides, peace will finally find its way among the people of both communities.
She presented kola nuts and a white rooster to the Madina people as symbols of the genuineness and sincerity of the apology of the people of Nimba Point.
In response, the doyen elder of Madina Town, Moi Dosii, accepted the apology and called for cooperation between the two communities.
He also expressed gratitude to residents of Nimba Point for realizing their past mistakes and apologizing to the people of Madina Town.
Doyen Dosii said the people of Madina were willing to work with their brethren of Nimba Point to promote development in the entire Garwula District.
Many of the residents of the Madina Town and Nimba Point, who attended the dialogue, however, were doubtful whether the resolved land dispute would serve as a basis for the management of Sime Darby to add Madina Town to communities benefitting under the Project-Affected Communities Scheme (PACS).
The management of Sime Darby currently recognizes seventeen communities under its PACS or areas deserving special benefits because of the company’s operations.
Residents of Madina Town have all the while said that the exclusion of their town from the PACS is discriminatory because other nearby towns are benefiting from the scheme.
According to Sime Darby officials, the sticky issue about the people of Madina Town has been the boundary delineation.
“Now that the two towns have agreed on their common boundary, the peace settlement could receive further boost with the inclusion of Madina in the PACS,” a school teacher said.
He also said that with the restoration of peace between the two towns, the past standoff between the people of Madina Town and Sime Darby Plantation can be resolved by admitting Madina into the PACS.