On Saturday 22nd June 2019, the people of Du- Wolee Nyennue MOU community in Kpanyan Statutory District, Sinoe County smoked peace pipes with GVL as the community turned over almost 1,000 hectares of land it has withheld from development between the company for over two years.
The handover of the of the land was backed by a letter addressed to GVL Management dated 22nd June 2019, and presented by Du-Wolee Nyennue Township Land Right Committee Chairman, Hon. Stephen Brown. The letter affirmed that “The entire citizens held a mass meeting in Nyunnue community on the 14 of une 2019. The meeting was based on the land that was question; during the meeting, a resolution was signed that from this date, the land if free or given to GVL to continue their clearing process. This land covers 999.74 hectares which is situated in Nyunnue community; the citizens unanimously agreed that upon this resolution, GVL will not be embarrassed by any citizen. We as citizens have the enthusiasm that GVL will unfold this land to the highest esteem; we hope GVL will cooperate with this document.”
Hon. Brown acknowledged that though there were ups and downs the community is fully aware that the parcel of land originally withheld by the community was part of the land signed for in the existing MOU and as such, the operation of the company should not be obstructed. He believed that as the company operations expands in their communities; there will be more employment opportunities and infrastructure development. According to him and as concurred by the community. “Today, we have turned over the disputed land so that there will be more employment and more development will come to our community” Brown told GVL Management.
GVL and the Du-Wolee Nyennue communities signed a Memorandum of Understanding incorporating social agreement for 1,449 hectares of land to be developed as an oil palm plantation in June 2016. However, after developing 300 hectares, the community placed a stop work order claiming that the land the company was developing was not part of the land offered by the community in the MOU. This was in spite of a mapping process involving all relevant stakeholders as part of the FPIC process.
Receiving the turnover document, GVL General Manager for Sustainability Dr. Michael Abedi-Lartey and Senior Manager Abu Kamara assured the communities that with the turnover of the land, the company will continue with the FPIC process to ensure that all required steps are followed before land development and other activities will commence in the shortest possible time.
For his part, Hon. Ramsey Snoh, former Township Commissioner for area and now Assistant Superintendent for Development for Kpanyan Statutory District lauded the Management of GVL for being patient and for the level of professionalism exhibited when the development was halted by the community. Hon. Snoh further narrated that withholding the land by community was not intentional but due to misinformation provided by some members of the community. He advised the community to commit itself to working with GVL to realize their development aims. He further advised the communities to use established channels to seek solutions or explanations to any concerns they may have.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Youth Chairman Samuel Weah, the Women Leader Sinoe County Police Commander Superintendent Douwoe Goldoe, Kpayan Statutory District Superintendent Hon. Abraham Sokan Pion, all thanked the community and GVL for the peaceful relationship between both parties during the process and advised that such friendship should continue during the operation. They strongly believes that with the GVL operation, the lives of the community will progressively change for the good. They offered prayers for cordial working relationship and a successful operation, which will now improve their lives of the community.
In closing remarks, Commissioner Darius Nagbeh who was showered with praises by all speakers for his role played in getting the matter resolved said under his watchful eyes as Commissioner, there will be no one to oppose to development coming in the area.
He pledged to do all he can in his power as head of the Township to work with GVL and the community in extending and protecting the benefits that the investment is bringing through development and infrastructure improvement to the people of Du-Wolee and Nyennue Township.