Land Woes: Need For Urgent Solutions!

It is increasingly curious how issues related to land management have become topical in the country of late. Flash floods from an artificial lake which gave way on 8 October, 2023 in Mbankolo, Yaounde took along 28 human lives and left many homeless. Those affected were comfortably residing on a risky area, occupying land that was not meant for any form of habitation. In the Ocean Divisional headquarters, Kribi in the South Region that is fast becoming an economic hub thanks to the Deep Seaport which went operational in the locality, cases of private title deeds on government land being cancelled by the Minister of State Property and Land Tenure have also resurfaced. Of course, that followed a similar annulment of fraudulent title deeds in Mbankolo after the flash-floods and dishing out of sanctions on officials who acted unprofessionally by issuing of such questionable land documents. Beyond the instances which have raised much dust due to their tragic consequences and the Kribi case that almost deprived the State of valuable space for development, there are several questions surrounding such occurrences across the country. Efforts by government to provide adequate academic facilities for knowledge-thirsty youth have exposed another anomaly in land acquisition in some parts of the country. Getting infrastructure to accommodate students in recently created State Universities has been the concern of some elite who have been obliged to either go negotiating or organise fund raisers to purchase land for the new University institutions. Laudable efforts, one may say!     
Such difficulties bring to mind land challenges faced by investors willing to do business in Cameroon. In the past, companies have been known to avoid setting up structures in the country for investments due to lack of space citing difficult land reform policies. Opportunities for job creation, economic growth and progress have continued to slip off many hands under such circumstances. Some investors have even been heard crying out loud that they want to construct structures that reflect their ambitions in Cameroon and the entire sub-region, but are unable to do so because there is no land for them to build. With calls for second-generation agriculture to take roots in the country, the need for land reforms keeps coming up time and time again.      
If demographic pressure in most major towns in the country has accounted for people constructing in swamps and other risky areas, that cannot be said of business operators or university institutions being located in secondary towns. Yet, land problems keep cropping up with the potential of stifling key development projects. Unfortunately, cases have been reported of people obtaining titles deeds in the heart of forest and desert localities that could eventually harbour certain major government projects. The objective being to take home huge sums of money as State compensation for property before any major development projects are undertaken in the localities. Erecting attitudes of this nature into a generalised approach to national issues with the sole aim being to frustrate all efforts at making life better for the rest of the population has continued to be worrisome.     
Instead of enabling both rural and urban areas in the country to have infrastructure and business opportunities that can keep the rest of the nation in harmony, individuals opt for measures that can only stifle initiatives and send the rest of the people to fend for themselves like scavengers. This may not be any justification for unwarranted risks that people take in big cities given that some of such houses do cost fortunes to erect. But, the issue of individuals blocking progress by acquiring land which they might never put to use can be disturbing in itself. As many persist in the unorthodox habitat of grabbing land insatiably, questions keep coming on how they get the money in the first place. Talk less of those who have their off-springs mostly abroad who might hardly come back home because li...



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