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Jabang Residents Express Disappointment Over Demolition Of Their Structures

A demolished structure in Jabang by Department of Physical Planning on 22nd August 2022

By Buba Gagigo

The residents of Jabang have expressed disappointment over the demolition of their structures by the Department of Physical Planning on Monday.

Reacting to the demolition, Ansumana Darboe, one of the residents affected, said the department said they built their structures on a waterway without a permit.

“We got notice from the Department Physical Planning last Saturday (20th August 2022). They said we built without a permit on a waterway and they said that was the reason for the demolition today. It was just two days’ notice. I have told them all of us here got our structures through Social Security. The Gambian system is when you get a structure, you fence it and build your house and that is what we did.

“We did not do anything wrong. All of us felt we acquired our structures legally. If this demolition is to happen, I think there should be a court order, but there was no court order. Even a court order gives the person sometime, but these people gave us the notice on Saturday and came to demolish today Monday. What provision do you make for my family and I? It means they want to make me homeless,” he said.

Mr Darboe alleged that the people doing the demolition had no respect for them as one of them wanted to stop him from filming the demolition. “Some of them were laughing with no remorse.”

                                                                                        Another victim, Fatoumata Bah explained how she was served with a notice 2 days to the activity, which described as “very unfair”.

 “The paramilitary came here on Saturday and gave us a notice. We even thought that they were just going to demolish our fences alone. However, when they came today, they demolished our fence up to the backyard and the other two compounds that are already down. This is very unfair because right now, many places are flooding in the Gambia and those people are looking for places to go. If they demolished our house, where would we go? At least give us a month’s notice.  Where will we go during this rainy season?”

Joking Kovia, whose sister has a structure in the affected area, got the news of the demolition while at work.

“I was at my work place when I got a call from a friend that there is a demolition ongoing here. When I came, I found their bulldozer had a problem. I asked them and they told me that they are on demolition. I told them at least they should have given us notice, but they said they have issued notice. How can they give notice and we are not aware? My sister is the owner of the structures. The compound is not even ready. They told me to check inside, I will see the notice, but I did not see anything inside. I later asked the neighbours and I was informed that it was only two days’ notice,” he explained.

Residents in the settlement on Monday had their structures demolished by the Department of Physical Planning. The affected persons were given 2 days’ notice in a letter seen by this medium dated 20th August 2022.

Some of the persons affected acknowledged receipt of a notice from the Department of Physical Planning informing them of the planned demolition and the reason, 2 days to the event; but others said they did not receive it.

The letter warned that failure on the part of the builders to comply with the notice would lead to the removal or demolition of their structures at their expense.

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