Officials accused of land grabbing in CES
By William Madouk Garang
Local residents in Gudele west on Friday accused officials in Central Equatoria State of allegedly being involved in land grabbing issues such as unlawful and allocation and selling already allotted residential plots in Gudele West of Juba County.
The local resident accused Gudele West land committee, local chiefs and staff from state ministry of Physical Infrastructure of Central Equatoria State are the trio force involved in illicit land grabbing activities.
In an interview with Juba Monitor Yesterday, Peter James accused officials of giving many non-residents land documents, adding that many residents are denied access to their land documents.
“The land committee of Gudele West headed by Mohammed Awad, this are the first people, the second is the state ministry of infrastructure and the chiefs of Nalang village these are three groups participating to sell the people’s plots to people who are not residents,” James said.
“The people in the residential area are not being given their plots, even others [residents] it’s written in their file the number of the plots but in the ground when they need to process documents they are denied to process documents up to today,” he added.
He appealed to the national government to intervene and resolve the matter and in line with bill of right which grants right to settle in any place, adding that state government had failed to solve the issue from 2012 to the present.
“Our demand, we need our right to be taken according to the Land Act, anybody residing in the area has right to have the legal documents of his house and we are there before the demarcation of the area and we are the one contributing for the demarcation of the area,” James stressed.
“How somebody who is not there will come and take your house? And you are the one participating in demarcation, and you are the one who called for survey and government to come and organize you and somebody come and take your land,” he lamented.
In rebuttal the Commissioner of Juba County, Charles Joseph Wani said complainants and those who have documents or don’t have should write to him officially so that he would be able to look at both sides of coin and come with a solution.
“This issue of land especially the community is already banned from demarcation, the demarcation will be carried out by the government only. In case of anything or somebody want to acquire land or land acquisition should be through county commissioner,” Wani said.
“So, I need to tell everyone that whoever comes and tells them that there is a land for demarcation and you come and buy let them reveal such kind of thing, let’s cooperate with government so that government has already come out solution especially county authority,” he advised.
On December 2021, Central Equatoria State minister of Land, Housing and Public Utilities, Flora Gabriel promised to crack down and take legal action against land grabbers in Juba County.
She stressed that state continue to witness unprecedented incidences of land grabbing with perpetrators remains at large number unscathed.
There have been conflicts related to land grabbing and unlawful allotment of land in the capital Juba. This includes areas of Gumbo, Tokiman, Loggo East and West, Gorom and Sombia among others.
In January 2022, governor Adil warned of punitive measures against land grabber, he deployed armed forces in location where illegal demarcation is being carried out around juba or hot-spots.
The deployment, he says will be extended to areas such as Kor-Wolyang, Rajaf, Kemiru, Gumbo, Tokiman, Loggo East and West, Gorom, and Somba where illegal land allotment has been rampant.