An article as was written by one of Sierra Leone’s Environmental Reporters in 2011 indicted former Lands Minister now Trade Minister, Alieu Pat Sowe, over death of thousands in the recent mudslide disaster at Sugar Loaf, Regent Freetown.
The report revealed how Pat Sowe (then Minister of Lands) denied orders of the elected but relieved Vice President, Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, for the destruction of ‘makeshift’ structures within the Western Area Peninsular Forest Reserve.
Sam Sumana’s orders came shortly after a specialist report- Geographic Information Systems (GIS)- identified and demarcated catchment and forest reserved areas in bushes at mount sugarloaf.
The report additional explained how Pat Sowe, whilst serving as country’s Lands Minister, knowingly allocated lands behind the buffer zones, which also are forbidden for the construction of houses because they fell within water catchment site, to people.
“On the 2nd of September 2011, a letter of offer for the lease of state land at Babadorie Phase 1 in Hill Station was written by the Minister of Lands, Pat Sowe to Alpha Kamara, who resides at No. 32 Second Street New England Ville. In the letter of offer to the land around the catchment areas, Pat-Sowe stated: ‘I refer to your letter of application on the above and to convey my approval to take on lease land you applied for as shown on PLOT No. 107 at Babadorie Phase 1,’” the report claimed.
Deputy Minister of Lands at that time, Ahmed Khanou, reportedly responded to the report in which he outlined what the Ministry has been doing in protecting the Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserve.
This, by insinuations, relate to the fact that the Ministry of Lands during tenure of Pat Sowe has had enjoying moments allocating reserved lands to people, but claiming it was protecting same.
To this, no doubt, has seen Sierra Leoneans calling on government institute a public enquiry so that people understood to have initiated human settlement at reserved lands with reference to the one at Sugarloaf, where incidentally hundreds have lost their lives, be exposed and dealt with according to law.
Their appeal is that Pat Sowe be also immediately sacked to enhance a just enquiry on the issue.