Logging Company Bows To Media Pressure – Promises To Implement Social Agreement
By Eric Opa Doue of the Liberia Forest Media Watch / email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
LIBERIA: EJ and J Investment Corporation, a company operating the Ziadue and Teekpeh community forest has made a commitment to construct eight hand pumps within the period of five months (September 2021 to February 2022). The Logging Company made the commitment at a meeting held on September 18, 2021, following media publication by the Liberia Forest Media Watch (LFMW).
The report, which was published by several media outlets, including Forest Hour Radio Program highlighted the appalling condition of residents of Ziadue and Teekpeh community, including lack of safe drinking water and roads. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/custodians-of-24449-9-forest-concession-lack-safe-drinking-water/.
The meeting was organized by the Community Forest Management Body (CFMB), and witnessed by a representative of the Forestry Development Authority. In that meeting, the company signed on to a resolution to construct eight hand pumps and two compartment pit latrines in the affected communities within five months- September 2021-February 2022. “We have agreed to construct a two compartment pit latrines and eight hand pumps within the affected communities”, Stanley Wizard, coordinator of EJ and J told LFMW’s River Cess/Grand Bassa focal person Eric Opa Doue.
In addition, Wizard said the company also agreed to deposit the amount of US$23,250in the community’s account as scholarship funds, attributing the delay to deliver on their commitments to the outbreak of the global pandemic, COVID 19. “On 25, February, 2022, all eight hand pumps and the two concrete pit latrines will be dedicated to the community”, Wizard emphasized.
The resolution, copy of which is in the possession of the LFMW reads in part, “That EJ and J has agreed to deposit the amount owed the community as it relates to Scholarship program.”
According to the resolution, the total amount to be deposited into the community’s account is US$ 13,250.00. This amount which is exclusively for the scholarship program is to be deposited before the beginning of the 2021/2020 academic year.
On November 7, 2018, Ziadue/Teekpeh community signed a five years forest contract with E J and J/Brilliant Maju Logging Company to harvest logs. The contract gives the company the right to harvest logs on 24,449.9 hectares of land. Since the signing of the agreement in 2018, the Community represented by members of the Community Assembly (CA) say E J and J/Brilliant Maju Logging Company has not met up with any of its social responsibilities as agreed to in the forest contract with the community. All efforts, including protests from community members, to get the company to implement the social agreement failed, until media publication by the LFMW in August 2021.
Kpageeyah Town is one of the communities within Ziadue/Teekpeh Authorized Community Forest area. Residents of the town told LFMW that the community has been out of safe drinking water for two years now amidst company’s failure to complete the construction of a hand pump it started since 2019. According to the Social Agreement, the company is under obligation to construct 16 hand pumps in the various affected communities, but this did not happen until media intervention in August 2021.