HOIMA – 73 Kabaale oil refinery project affected persons [PAPs] whose families were displaced as government acquired land for the construction of the oil refinery in Kabaale Sub-county in Hoima district are now landlords again after receiving freehold land titles.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development through the Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development recently offered the PAPs 127 freehold land titles for the pieces of land that the government resettled them.
The 73 PAPs are part of 7118 people who were relocated from 29 square miles of land which the government acquired in 2012 from 13 villages to pave way for the construction of the oil refinery which will be used to process 60,000 barrels of crude oil into finished petroleum products.
The 73 PAPs received the land titles because they opted for relocation while the remaining PAPs opted for cash compensation to start a new life on their own without government intervention.
Government acquired 533 acres of land in Kyakaboga village in Buseruka Sub-county in Hoima district and distributed it to 73 individuals and their families. The government went ahead to construct a permanent house for each of the households on a total area of 20 acres.
After the construction of the houses in 2017, the government handed the houses to the residents who had been living on the new land waiting for the land titles until last week when they received the valuable documents.
Sadam Tekwako the chairman of Kyakaboga settlement area commended the government for offering the land titles to the resident adding that the delivery has been long overdue.
He noted that many people had lost hope because of the delay by the government to deliver the titles adding that they are now rightful owners of the land.
Tekwako however asked the government to fulfill some pledges. He noted that the government promised to establish piped water and to establish health facilities in the area but to date, nothing has been implemented.
Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba who was represented by the Hoima deputy Resident District Commissioner Michael Kyakashari said that the handover of the titles makes the PAPs rightful owners of the land they stay on.
She noted that the delivery of the land titles is one of the major milestones achieved in the implementation of the oil refinery project.
She challenged the beneficiaries not to sell the land but use it for production to be able to supply produce to the oil and gas sector.
Honey Maringa, the director of Petroleum in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said that 7118 were fully compensated adding that those who opted for relocation were given houses and those who opted were given money and went away.
He rubbished the claims of people who have continued to mislead the community that the area where they located them was not suitable for settlement.
He noted that the place was properly well planned adding that the area has all the necessary infrastructure such as school, roads, police, market and conducive houses were established in the area. He noted that the residents were given farmland and each individual knows his or her land.
He noted that they also offered livelihood restoration projects such as seeds and livestock.
He noted that 127 out 133 land titles were processed after 6 people failed to provide valid National IDs. He promised that the Ministry is going to work with relevant stakeholders to address the remaining challenges such as lack of water and health facilities.
Pius Wakabi the Bugahya County Member of Parliament commended the government for offering titles to the locals adding that it is difficult for an individual to process a land title and called on the Ministry of getting affirmative action aimed at processing land titles for the locals.
He expressed concern over the increasing land grabbing, saying most of the people in the area do not have the right ownership of the land, which he said gives an advantage to the speculators.
While handing over the land titles to the residents, Peter Aimat Lokeris state Minister of Energy and Mineral Developmenhttpscommended the PAPs for supporting the oil project by accepting to offer their land.
He noted that the process of developing oil sector in the area has not been not easy, adding that as government they are happy that the progress is promising.
He noted the construction of roads, airport, and refinery are developments that they never expected in the area and urged the locals to take advantage of the same, warning the beneficiaries against selling the land titles but instead use the documents to develop themselves.
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