But they said in as much as they remain committed, the company should respect them and should not do anything contrary.
The citizens of Zodua Clan, Garwula District in Grand Cape Mount County unanimously authorized the management of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia Inc (SDPL) for expansion of the company’s operations in their clan.
But they also placed in the resolution that no third party would be allowed in the clan without their approval. It also said even SDPL can not impose or allow any group into the area with out a clear and defined understanding.
According to Momo Zodua, Chief of the clan told reporters recently that their action was intended to protect the citizens and the company.
He said too many groups were entering their ancestor land with out their consent and carrying out various types of research or survey. “We have to come out with this resolution to help all of us.”
But this week some citizens told reporters that they wanted to reiterate their word.
“We have agreed for Some Darb to come and invest, but they should not impose on us. We heard last month that some NGO wanted to come to conduct workshop and know whether SIME. DARBY was actually given the land.,” Augustine Sambola said.
He said it is not bad, but we must be informed and agreed to it.
The Zodua resolution came out
In their eight counts resolution, the citizens said they have unanimously agreed to inform the management of Sime Darby that the clan is free from misunderstanding and united in good faith to welcome the management back to the clan for full operations.
“Whereas, the people of Zodua clan do realized that Sime Darby operations is helping our clan economically, socially and infrastructure wise. Since the coming of Sime Darby into Zodua clan, the livelihood of our people is improving through job creation especially for the young people who were unemployed and vulnerable,” the citizens said in a resolution.
“Whereas, Sime Darby has recognized the customary, traditional, ancestry rights of our people to their land in keeping with the laws of the Republic of Liberia and other international bodies’ including the United Nations (UN) Convention on the rights of the indigenous to their land,” the citizens added.
Another youth, Samuel Keade said they were eager for the company to move in. They however expressed frustration over the delay due to the High Carbon Stock study which needs to be conducted by international group and SDPL.
“We the people of Zodua Clan including elders, traditional leaders, women group, youth and the Zodua land committee (ZLC) do hereby unanimously resolved to reject collaborating with any legal organization on this and all future work in our clan in the spirit of keeping our clan united and peaceful. However, it is important to note that Zodua Clan will welcome a genuine partner to carry on any transparent work in its clan that will not divide the people within the clan,” they noted.
At the same time, the leadership and citizens of Zodua Clan had agreed for three signatures on all correspondence to Sime Darby Management.
The three signatures include the Secretary of the Zodua Clan Land committee, the chairman of Zodua clan land committee and the General town chief of Zodua Clan, Garwula District.
The company signed a 63-year concession agreement with the Government of Liberia to develop 220,000 hectares of land in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Gbarpolu and Bong into oil palm and rubber plantations. To date, approximately 10,000 hectares in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties have been planted with oil palm according to the company.