Man 70, Threatens To Commit Suicide Over Land Dispute

{By Abraham S. Sollie/GNN Judicial Reporter}

Mr. James K. Atoe and his Grand Children
Mr. James K. Atoe and his Grand Children

The issue of land grab in Liberia nowadays is getting serious by the day as most victims who cannot afford huge cash to fight their cases are always suffered the powers of those who are economically grinded to overpowered legitimate of these lands in question.

The most recent victim of this situation is a 70-year-old man who claimed that he saw his house demolished by a local court has said he will commit suicide if nothing is done to recant what is for him justifiably.

Speaking to the GNN, Mr. James Kerkula Ato surrounded by his children alleged that the disputed land in question contains 1.36 lots and is located  on Moore Street around the Old CID Road in Mamba Point which also share common boundary line with the property.

He said the land was purchased in 1970 from a man he identified as Charles G. Smith, who he said was at the time working at the Executive Mansion and obtained a deed as the rightful owner of the property.

He also disclosed to our report the family of the late Thomas Buchannan, former Minister of Public Works has vowed to illegally take his land by selling it to the political leader of the opposition All Liberia Party (ALP), Mr. Benoni Urey who has decided to demolish oh house.

Mr. Atoe narrating to our reporter also alleged that since this situation started he has been harassed and intimated allegedly by men believed to be followers of Mr. Urey and members of the Buchannan family adjacent this disputed land.

He further alleged that Mr. Urey and the Buchannan Family want to take advantage of his poor status and the closeness of the two lands (lots #35 and #36) to forcibly grab his land.

Speaking to our reporter, Mr. Atoe said, “I invited you here today to explain what I have been going through in recent times. Since 2011, I have been going through some tough times with people who want to forcibly take my property from me doing in their financial powers to demolish my house. I will not sit and allow somebody to push me to the wall. They want to take my land from me through cash violence,” he noted.

He said his decision to commit suicide is to create awareness to the international community, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the world at large that a presidential hopeful has decided to seize violently his parcel of land a situation he narrated lead him to commit suicide.

 “I am calling on all well-meaning Liberians, politicians, Civil Society Organizations and most especially our President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to come to my aide, as harassment and intimidation from Lester Buchannan Karpeh and Mr. Urey continues I will have no other alternative but to kill myself,”  Mr. Atoe speaking to our reporter with tears in his eyes said.

He indicated that though he is not in court with Mr. Urey but said it is (he) Mr. Urey the one who has interest in buying the land from Lester Buchannan Karpeh and the one who allegedly carry police officers to the place to intimidate him.

In response to the Mr. Atoe’s land claim against Mr. Urey, the lawyer representing the legal interest of Mr. Lester Karpeh in the case,  Cllr. Swahilo Sesay, told this paper that all of the allegations levied against his client and Mr. Urey are far from the truth.

Cllr. Sesay said that the land in question does not belong to Mr. Atoe and that the old man dubiously acquired the land while serving as guard on the land for the late Mother Juah Karpeh-Buchannan, wife of the late Thomas Buchannan of the Episcopal Church at which time he (Mr. Atoe) was a CID officer.

Cllr. Sesay stated that Mr. Atoe has no case with Mr. Urey and that Mr. Urey came in lately after the houses on the disputed land were already demolished.

He added that his client has financially settled all of the other people that were illegally occupying the land but said that Mr. Atoe refused to get settled financially, because of the alleged influence of a Nigerian businessman he only identified as KC.

He also alleged that Mr. Atoe refused to be settled because he has owed KC a huge sum of money that he cannot pay back.

 Cllr. Sesay among other things added that the old man reneging on being settled and to vacate the place because he allegedly leased the land to KC.

Our investigation continues.

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About Cholo Brooks 15600 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.