The severity of rainfall in Liberia, most especially in Monrovia the Capital City, is a well-known phenomenon, often resulting to flooding and the destruction of properties. It is during this period that Liberians make numerous calls for help from communities in and around the city. Worst affected areas normally are located in lowland areas, especially swamps that have been converted to dwelling places.Notably, the flood experience comes as a result of the rising of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as climate change and individuals constructing structures in swamps and water ways, including other factors such as encroachment on waterways and beachfronts.In Monrovia where zoning ordinances and other preconditions for housing constructions are sometimes ignored by builders and they proceed illegally to misuse these protected areas by constructing structures. Also, the heavy downpour of rain combines with the lack of adequate and properly layout drainages often exacerbate the situation.Monrovia, which continues to experience a high degree of rural-to-urban migration, is hugely affected by the development of several slum communities in swamps and waterways. Currently, Monrovia is paying host to a huge proportion of the Country’s populations, with about 1.3 million of Liberia’s 4 million people residing there, which makes it the most populated city in Liberia.For decades, urban governance in Liberia has not been given much policy and legal priority. Municipal authorities nationwide are still largely unable to respond to urbanization challenges effectively, or plan for future urban growth due to low capacity and poor resources. Neither are people willing to listen to those few regulations that are on the books.In response to situation of non-adherence to city laws, ordinance and regulations, the Government of Liberia established the Land Commission with the general mandate and purpose to propose, advocate and coordinate reforms of land policy, laws and programs in Liberia. The decision to undertake a comprehensive land reform was in recognition of the critical role of land in defining national identity, and how significantly land related issues affect national cohesion, peace, reconciliation, protection of rights and the rule of law, and economic growth and development.As part of its role in the land governance, the Land Commission has observed with serious concern, the illegal construction of structures in swamps and waterways by individuals in certain communities, especially in Monrovia and parts adjacent, and also viewed this encroachment on swamp land as illegal, a gross misuse of public property and an act against the public land use and management procedures.According to the Commission, this action if not stopped, has the propensity to eventually cause increased flooding or other natural disasters in those communities that are building in swamps, which will also affect other areas.In this regard, the Commission strongly cautions that swamps and lowland areas are not free land. They are government restricted and protected areas, which serve as habitat for fishes to spawn and reservoir for most aquatic species of animals.The Land Commission is also admonishing citizens and residents in Monrovia and other cities to help government maintain ordinances in cities across the country by not dumping wastes in drainages and building in alleys and on wet lands and waterways. The Commission wishes to warn all citizens that this act poses serious health hazard for other residents of communities in those areas. The Commission admonishes that obeying city orderliness and/or maintenance of cities are share-responsibilities of government and residents and should not be considered as solely government responsibility alone.Therefore, the Land Commission is warning all those involved in the illegal construction of structures on swamp lands and similar acts in Montserrado County, especially Congo Town, Sinkor Old Road and Airfield, Paynesville, Mount Barclay, Somalia Drive, Bushrod Island, Virginia, Brewerville, and other areas where swamps are concentrated, to desist and/or their plans and seek advice from the relevant land and environmental institutions to avoid legal actions. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Less than a week after family friends released the sad news that Aretha Franklin was “gravely ill” and nearing the end, the woman considered a cultural icon and one of the finest vocalists of our time died on August 16, 2018, in Detroit while receiving hospice care, surrounded by loved ones. Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told the Associated Press through a family statement that Franklin died at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit. The statement said “Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute.”Franklin singing at the 2009 inauguration of President ObamaAccording to the AP, the family added: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”The statement continued:“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”RIP Aretha Franklin 1942 – 2018From the time she sang as a child in her father’s church in Detroit, Aretha Franklin’s gift was clear to all. She began her professional career at the age of 18, and went on to sing such classics as “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman,” “Chain of Fools,” and “Think.”Aretha Franklin was the first woman admitted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She hit the Billboard chart with 88 hits, making her the top among female vocalists. From 1967 to 1975, she had more than 24 hits in the Top 40.Franklin preparing to perform at the White House in 2015Her last performance was on November 2, 2017 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York City.Elton John posted a tribute, saying, “The loss of Aretha Franklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated–she was one of my favorite pianists. I was fortunate enough to spend time with her….she was obviously unwell and I wasn’t sure she would perform. But Aretha did and she raised the roof. She sang and played magnificently and we all wept. We were witnessing the greatest soul artist of all time.”Aretha Franklin star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, CaliforniaTributes to Aretha Franklin poured in, with Diana Ross saying, I’m sitting in prayer for the wonderful golden spirit Aretha Franklin,” and John Legend saying, “Salute to the Queen. The greatest vocalist I’ve ever known.”Franklin wipes a tear after being given the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 9, 2005, at the White House.Annie Lennox’s reaction was “She has reigned supreme, and will always be held in the highest firmament of stars as the most exceptional vocalist, performer and recording artist the world has ever been privileged to witness.”Read another story from us: The Golden Hollywood Marriage that Began in Secret and Ended in Mental IllnessJay-Z and Beyoncé performed in Detroit on Monday. After performing their first song at the show, Beyoncé told the crowd, “This show is dedicated to Aretha Franklin.”Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at *Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone*, and *InStyle*, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com.