Gov’t To Demolish Illegal Structures…Court’s Action May affect E.J. Roye, Ohers

The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says she has instructed the Ministry of Public Works to demolish all structures on Tubman Boulevard that violate pedestrian pavement safety and the Zoning Laws.    In her State of Nation Address at the Capitol Building on Monday, President Sirleaf said that reconstruction and upgrade of Somalia Drive will begin within the next month and that with support from the Government of Japan, her administration has commenced an investigatory survey within communities to identify and lay out the auxiliary alleys and roads along the ELWA to RIA Corridor, to ensure proper zoning, planning and laying out of communities.

According to her, this initiative shall provide a model action plan template for developing communities, designing and constructing road corridors, thus minimizing the potential for citizens to continue building within the rights-of-ways.

She pointed out that the success of this program will afford Government the opportunity to replicate these activities in other major urban communities throughout the country.

In her over three-hour long address, President Sirleaf pointed out that there has been less than satisfactory progress on the enforcement of the country’s Zoning Laws and land-use planning regulations.

“Although hundreds of Stop Work and Removal Orders in Monrovia were issued, developers and builders continue to ignore the rules of engagement, by constructing without the approval and permission required by the Government,” the President stated.

President Sirleaf said in order to enforce the zoning ordinances and laws, all illegal structures built within the rights-of-ways of existing and future road corridors will be removed.

She said those who, for personal gain, have allowed the defacing of their prime corridor will face the brunt of their illegal and corrupt practices.

In another development, President Sirleaf said they have recognized the challenges throughout the country for affordable housing, and in this regard, they are pleased to report that plans are near completion for a 500-unit housing complex near the University of Liberia Fendell Campus, with support from the Government of Equatorial Guinea as a show of solidarity among African nations.

She indicated that the housing situation at West Point, which accommodates 31,000 citizens, demands a long-delayed response.

“Architectural design is under way to address this problem for which your approval will be sought through budgetary allocation in the next fiscal year,” she stated.

President Sirleaf said construction or rehabilitation of new facilities at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center in Paynesville is nearing completion, but they have experienced delays in rehabilitation or construction of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, a new Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, and the expansion of facilities at the Capitol Building Complex.

According to her, these delays, which include land ownership and long-standing contractual arrangements and depositor rights, have also delayed reconstruction of important public facilities, including Ducor Hotel, Hotel Africa, the National Housing & Savings Bank Building, and the E.J. Roye Building.

“We can no longer accept these claims and delays, and will move, with court action or otherwise, as required, to complete these works,” President Sirleaf noted.

She further explained that large holdings of urban land have also delayed the development of the cities, a situation that must be addressed through the draft Act that provides the process for implementing the constitutional right of eminent domain.