President Julius Maada Bio said on Tuesday at the occasion marking the first anniversary of the mudslide disaster that his government is determined to learn the lessons from the tragedy and vowed to implement and enforce measures through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment to prevent a reoccurrence.
To many, the President’s statement was both an acknowledgement and an endorsement of the ongoing work by the Ministry of Lands, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Denis Sandy which has seen the demolition of structures in areas considered to be disaster prone.
Speaking during an interfaith ceremony on Tuesday, President Bio said: “The Sugar Loaf Mountain and its environs is an Environmentally Protected Area and anyone who builds on this environmentally protected area will be prosecuted and the building/structure demolished. The Ministry of Lands, Housing and the Environment and the Environment Protection Agency will enforce the protection of this environment”, the President said.
It could be recalled that the August 14th, 2017 tragedy which killed over one thousand Sierra Leoneans was blamed on unregulated and unplanned activities including building structures in the area of the disaster.
Since he took over about four months ago, the Lands Minister, Dr. Sandy who is also in charge of the environment has spared little effort in ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.
The Minister who has always insisted that he has the support of the President to carry out his ministerial mandate noted that Tuesday’s statement by the President has strengthened his enforcement hands.
“In addition to the acknowledgement of my work, the President’s statement has motivated me and my team as well as strengthened my hands”, Dr. Sandy said.