Oil companies take over land for absentee landlords in Bunyoro

HOIMA – Government has okayed the oil companies to use the land purportedly owned by absentee landlords in the oil-rich Bunyoro sub region.

Through the Petroleum Authority of Uganda [PAU], government has recommended that the oil companies can rely on the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 to take over vacant land in certain areas of Bunyoro so as to beat the deadlines for the implementation of different oil projects.

The move comes at the time when oil companies are facing the challenge of absentee landlords who are supposed to be compensated but can not be traced, which has caused delays in some instances.

The Head of Corporate Affairs at CNOOC Uganda, one of the companies in the development activities in the region Zac Lubega told theCooperator that the decision to invoke the law and take over the land before compensating the landowners and users was taken to address the issue of slowness in the implementation oil projects.

“This has become one of the major challenges in the project life. Absentee land owners cannot be traced, but the project needs to progress, what do we do?” He wondered.

TotalEnergies and CNOOC Uganda Ltd are the leading petroleum companies at the centre of developing the oil fields to commercial production with a fast accruing deadline of 2025

Lubega said the issue of landlords who are not traceable has stopped several fronts of the project to progress, holding the local area leadership and the community liable but the waiting has been in vain.

He said efforts to trace landowners, especially in several townships in Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube districts were futile as most of the owners are suspected to have migrated to other townships and urban areas.

It should be recalled that the particular the 1965 Land Acquisition Act was challenged in the Constitutional court in 2014 by the cesidents along Hoima-Kaiso Tonya road when the Uganda National Roads Authority attempted to take over their land before Compensation.

Corporate Affairs Manager at PAU, Gloria Ssebikali, said the companies are not in bleach of any law, especially once they acquire the land after depositing an estimated value to the Courts of Law as required by the Act.

“At least according to the current Land Acquisition Act, it is not a bleach. It provides for compulsory acquisition by depositing the amount in court”. Ssebikali asserted.

She added: “The amendment that was being proposed was to make it a little more direct for a project to go on, as long as the Companies evaluate and deposit that estimated value with the court of law.”

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court found the Act inconsistent with Article 26(2) of the Constitution which provided for the speedy payment of a fair and adequate compensation prior to the take-over of a property.

The Supreme Court also held that Article 26 was not among the non-derogable rights, which does not give government powers to compulsorily acquire people’s property without prior payment, adding that such a government project is not categorised under disasters and emergencies.

In the Act okayed, the minister has powers to appoint a valuer for that particular contested property, and the process goes on which ends with a government take over.

This was revealed to the team from the Uganda Human Rights Commission who had gone for a guided tour to engage the project-affected communities, security agencies and other human rights defenders in Buliisa district.

The team led by Commissioner Crispin Kaheru had engagements with the different players and it was eminent that rights violations were tense in the region, with multiple accusations thrown at the security operatives in the region.

The communities accused the police and army of championing the acts of intimidation, especially on issues related to land rights and grabbing.

The engagements were attended by the district government representatives such as the Resident District Commissioner, District Internal Security Officer, District Community Development Officers, and the District Police Commander, whom Commissioner Kaheru implored to observe respect for human rights and desist from being used by land grabbers against the communities.

“Let’s have a meaningful dialogue between the leaders, the intending buyers, and the Communities to avoid the unnecessary crashes. Respect for the laws and rights,” Kaheru remarked.

The Oil Development project into a commercial phase currently stands at approximately 10 percent in parts of Kingfisher Development Area and is expected to be ready for crude oil production by 2025.

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Museveni roots for 4-acre farming approach to boost household incomes

OMORO– President Museveni is rooting for small-scale commercial farming approach in order to boost household incomes in northern Uganda.

This comes at a time when the Acholi Sub-region, according to a survey by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics [UBOS], is the poorest in the country, despite boasting arguably of the most fertile land in the country.

While campaigning for Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, the National Resistance Movement Candidate for the Omoro County Parliamentary by-election, Museveni said the government is currently looking to boost household incomes using the 4-acre farming approach where a farmer can get at least Shs 100 million per year.

“Our mathematics of the 4-acre module, 1 acre for coffee, fruits (citrus and mangoes, pineapples, pasture for feeding the livestock and 4th acre for the food crop growing. In the backyard, one would put piggery, chicken for eggs, and fish farming for those around swamps,” Museveni explained.

According to Museveni, this approach will directly be assisted under the Parish Development Module under which each parish in the country will be getting a total of 100 million every financial year.

“We have had several interventions like NAADs, Operation Wealth Creation. But now we are giving money directly to your SACCOs to fund your various projects. This is aimed at improving household income in your homes,” the president noted.

He also noted that the government will support Andrew Ojok, if elected to replace his father and see that a few farmers are taken to Fort Portal for benchmarking to gain more modernized farming skills focusing on the various high income generating enterprises.

“We shall help Ojok to take some few people to Fort Portal to see how people are getting 250m in small pieces of acre in farming,” he said.

In recent interviews, locals in the district demanded the local leaders make deliberate efforts to establish cooperative societies for soybean farmers.

Catherine Lamwaka, the Omoro County Woman MP, appealed to Museveni to help direct the government to invest in improving the value chain in soybean production. In his response, Museveni said that the government would get investors to invest in the soybean value chain.

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UIA organises Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo

KAMPALA– Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, through Uganda Investment Authority [UIA], is organizing the first ever Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo slated for June 27- 29th 2022.

The Summit, under the theme “Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion and Market Access”, will be held in the Congolese capital city of Kinshasa.

UIA is working with ACOPA-ONGd, the Congolese liaison entity that promotes investment and cross-border business in eastern DRC. The overall objective of the Summit and Expo is to promote and show case investment opportunities, create networks and joint venture partnerships aimed at enhancing investment and market access between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to promote products manufactured in Uganda.

Speaking on May 23, 2022 at a press conference on the Summit at Uganda Media Centre, State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyne Anite, said: “We are going to the DRC not for fun but very serious business of promoting investment and trade with Uganda. We are targeting five key sectors, namely, manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, services, real estate and trade”.

Minister Anite said the Summit is also aimed at promoting the formalization of informal cross-border trade between Uganda and DRC that has been going on for years.

The State Minister for Regional Cooperation, John Mulimba, said “the entry of the DRC into the East African Community family provides an opportunity to Ugandan investors to access new markets and opportunities for growth”, adding that “the new EAC now offers a combined market-driven economy of 300 million people and a GDP of 243 billion dollars”.

The State Minister for Trade, Harriet Ntabazi, called on Ugandan investors and business to seize the investment and trade opportunities to make money and develop Uganda.

The UIA Director General, Robert Mukiza, said through the Summit and Expo, Uganda aims to attract a significant number of Congolese investors to come and set shop in Uganda, taking advantage of Uganda’s strategic location in the heart of the EAC bloc, as well as popularize Ugandan products in the DRC and expand and deepen their market share.

Mukiza said the Summit also aims at attracting more Foreign Direct Investment into Uganda, as the investors would use Uganda’s strategic location to access the expanded East African Community market of over 300 million people, from the Indian Ocean coast to the Atlantic Ocean coast.

Mukiza added: “We invite Ugandan investors and businesses to participate in this first ever Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo because the dividends would be greater.”

The Chair of the Board of UIA, Morrison Rwakakamba, said the DRC provides the best investment and trade opportunity for Uganda, pointing out a catalogue of Ugandan products that need to get traction into the huge DRC market.

On April 9, 2022, UIA organised the highly successful West Nile Investment Summit in Nebbi District under the theme “Mobilisation of local investment for industrialization, market access and job creation”. The Summit attracted a high-powered delegation from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – the National Oversight Mechanism of the Framework Agreement, MNS, and members of the provincial Government of Ituri, and the ACOPA-ONGd, the liaison entity for promoting investment and cross border business in North-Kivu Province.

The West Nile Investment Summit connected with the political will of our two leaders, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and his Congolese counterpart, Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi.

The West Nile Investment Summit accelerated a new era in the economic and commercial relations between our two respective State entities at this historic moment when the DRC joins the East African Community.

The Summit agreed on a number of key resolutions, worth noting is Resolution 4, which states thus: “To organize a reciprocal Investment Promotion and Market Access Expo in Kinshasa, on 27th and 28th of June, 2022, and an Investment Promotion summit on

June 29, 2022, in Kinshasa”. It is against this backdrop that Uganda’s Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, through UIA, and in collaboration with ACOPAONGd, is organizing the Uganda-DRC Investment Summit and Expo, that will take place in Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, from 27th to 29th June, 2022 under the theme “Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion and Market Access”.

The overall objective of the Summit and Expo is to promote and show case investment opportunities, create networks and joint venture partnerships aimed at enhancing investment and market access between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as to promote products manufactured in Uganda.

The DRC, a new Member of the East African Community, has a market of over 100 million people, and is an important and growing market for Ugandan products. Through the Summit and Expo, UIA aims to attract a significant number of Congolese investors to come and set shop in Uganda, as well as other foreign direct investors, taking advantage of Uganda’s strategic location in the heart of the EAC bloc.

Through the Summit, UIA also aims at popularizing Ugandan products and services in the DRC, expand, and deepen their market share. Investors and businesses are invited to register in order to participate in the first ever Uganda-DRC Investment Promotion Summit and Market Access Expo because the dividends would be greater.

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UAE Ministry of Economy partners with ICA-AP to boost the co-op sector

DUBAI – The Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates days ago signed a co-operation agreement with the International Cooperative Alliance – through the latter’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office [ICA-AP], which aims to strengthen the country’s co-operative sector.

According to media reports, the initiative is part of the government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy and promote co-operatives as a tool to achieve sustainable development.

The ministry also intends to amend the country’s co-operative legislation to help grow the sector and raise awareness of the model. The ICA-AP team will provide support during this process, highlighting best international practices.

ICA-AP will work with the ministry to develop a long-term strategy for the national co-op sector, identifying challenges and suggesting measures to improve its performance.

The UAE is home to 42 co-ops, mostly in the retail sector, running 200 outlets and branches nationwide with a cumulative profit of more than one billion dirhams. The goal is to help set up co-ops in other sectors and increase their contribution to the country’s GDP from less than 1 percent at present to 5 percent by 2031.

The agreement was signed on 17 May by Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the ministry, and Balsubramanian Iyer, regional director, ICA-AP.

“The co-operative sector plays a pivotal role in achieving the goals of sustainable economic and social development for the United Arab Emirates, and is an important tributary to the competitiveness and diversification of the national economy,” said Mr Al Saleh. “To improve its performance in accordance with the best international practices and enhance its role in the new economic model of the country, the country has achieved regional leadership in developing the co-operative model and providing the environment and policies that stimulate its growth.”

UAE has recently allowed the listing and trading of co-operative shares in its financial markets. “We continue our efforts today to complete the development plan for the co-operative sector to take its deserved role as one of the drivers of diversity, sustainability, innovation, high productivity and the transformation towards the future economy in the UAE,” added Mr Al Saleh.

“Co-operatives align well with the UAE centennial pillars,” said Mr Iyer, “which call for the government to be supportive and future looking, building a diversified economy, promoting values in education, and building a happy and inclusive society.

“Through our engagement, we will bring in international experiences, and showcase relevant models from different countries. Our approach will be to help promote the co-operative model, increase awareness, help engage youth and women, build capacity and in the process increase visibility and contribution of co-operatives in the UAE.”

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UWA to recruit 800 rangers for game parks

GULU – In a bid to ensure sustainable management of wildlife and protected areas, Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] is to recruit 800 rangers to boost security.

In a press statement, John Samuel Mwandha, the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority revealed that the planned nationwide recruitment targets youth between 20-30 years.

The exercise scheduled for June 8, 2022, will be conducted in the different districts that include Masindi, Kabarole, Kiruhura, Mbale, Rubirizi and Karenga in Kidepo National Park.

Mwandha explained that the exercise is to reinforce operations and security in the game parks, conservation areas and wildlife sanctuaries, but also to reduce the escalating wildlife-human conflicts that have seen both humans and animals killed.

UWA manages 10 National parks, 12 wildlife conservations, five communities based, and 13 wildlife sanctuaries.

The parks include; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls, Kidepo, Mt.Elgon, Rwenzori Mountains, Semuliki, Mgahinga Gorilla, and Bwindi impenetrable Park.

Meanwhile, the rift valley landscapes and tropical forests make a dramatic backdrop to an extensive variety of flora and fauna which attracts hundreds of tourists and visitors to the country.

Tourism is one of Uganda’s economic mainstays which earned the country US$1.5 billion in 2019 financial year, according to UWA.

The Chief Warden of UWA Murchison Falls National Park Wilson Kagoro noted that inadequate human resource is affecting the management of the wildlife-protected areas.

However, Mwandha recently told the Parliament that at least 17 rangers and 9 suspected poachers have been killed during the different operations in the last 20 years.

The Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights recently summoned UWA to respond to the status of the human rights observations in the wildlife-protected areas.

The report submitted to the Committee includes alleged torture, human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests, detentions and extrajudicial killings against the communities neighbouring the parks.

The hostilities between the rangers and the communities amounted to 21 cases of human rights violations reported to the Human Rights Tribunal against UWA.

At least 18 of the cases were reported from Mt.Elgon and three from Murchison Falls National Park, resulting from unresolved land cases in court, resistance to arrests, and attempts to disarm the rangers.

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Local media urged to enhance coverage of PWDs

AMURIA– National Union of Women with Disability [NUWODU] has appealed to the media in Uganda to bolster the coverage of persons with disabilities [PWDs] but also report positively on this segment of the population.

May Nanziri, the NUWODU Programme Officer Amuria Cluster, said the media coverage of PWDs has not been impressive and has misrepresented the PWDs in some instances.

She explained that increasing media coverage on disability issues and use of a positive non-discriminatory language when reporting on PWDs, is a good step toward changing the narrative of derogatory, stigmatisation and discrimination against PWDs.

Nanziri made the statement this week during training of 40 selected journalists from different media houses in Teso sub-region on inclusive reporting held at Petua Gardens in Katakwi district.

The training follows continued discriminatory language being used by a section of the public in describing PWDs and mental health conditions.

The participants were sensitised on topics such as; Understanding the disability situation in Uganda, Models of Disabilities and Needs, and rights of people with disabilities.

According to Nanziri, language, religion and culture remained the topmost factors influencing stigmatization and discrimination, which had a huge impact on self-esteem, adding that the media had a major role to play in those areas.

She said that sometimes disability is a perspective and that persons with disabilities should be addressed by their personality and not by their condition.

Nanziri urged journalists to be the agenda setters by ensuring that laws around disability were functioning as stated in the Constitution as this can help break the barrier and build an all-inclusive system.

Nanziri observed that many great stories about disability go unpublished, yet such challenges, woes, and stories of PWDs need to be heard.

He pointed out that there is need for the media to allow PWDs to speak for themselves other than allowing their guardians to speak for them. “They have a story to tell. Some of the stories are very revealing,” she said.

Kenneth W. Massa, the facilitator of the training educated the participants on the need for a paradigm shift in reporting disability issues, particularly where persons with hearing impairment are called the “Dumb”.

He stressed that the negative language is fueling the stigma and discrimination against such persons.

“Treat adult PWDs as adults, ask them how they want to communicate, don’t just assume. Be patient with them and understand their position as PWDs, don’t even offer to help when they have not asked for it,” Massa advised.”

Massa implored participants to set the agenda of positive language and the promotion of the success stories of persons living with disability, rather than dwelling on their challenges to make headlines.

Meanwhile, Sarah Aguti, the Programme Officer NUWODU Katakwi district, stated that society would continue to look down on PWDs because of the negative way in which the media describes them.

She urged the media to focus on the positives of the disability community, citing the example of PWDs who have made it in life; for instance, in the academic circles where some of them had attained the highest levels of education.

Aguti also regretted that PWDs do not have access to some government buildings as they lack disability-friendly structures such as elevators, which said is a complete violation of PWDs’ fundamental rights.

Martha Aanyu, the Programme Manager at Kyoga Veritas (KVR) Radio in Soroti City said most journalists do not know the right words to use while writing stories involving PWDs.

“I’m sure that with the knowledge we have attained in this training today, there will be a paradigm shift in reporting disability issues in our respective media houses,” she said while speaking on behalf of journalists.

NUWODU is implementing a five-year AWESOME project in Katakwi and Amuria districts.

The project focuses on strengthening the women’s movement in Uganda to be more representative of diverse groups of women with collaboration advocacy voices that challenge social norms and influence policies and key decisions affecting them.

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Refugees demand for inclusion in govt programmes

LAMWO– Refugees settled in the three settlement centres in Lamwo district want to benefit from government programmes such as; Uganda Women Entrepreneurship program, (UWEP) and Youth Livelihood Fund, which are geared toward improving household incomes.

They argue that they are also needy just like the host communities.

Chairperson of refugees in Lamwo settlement, John Pasquale asked the government to include them in the programmes aimed at improving the lives of the natives, saying most donor funds received were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many of the funds from the donors were affected due to the prolonged Covid 19 pandemic and many benefits have been cut off, something that is impacting on us negatively,’’ he said

There are several government programmes running in various districts where we took refuge, if such categories like us are taken on board, we shall all improve on household income at the same pace, Pasquale said.

However, the deputy Resident Commissioner Oswin Oguti when contacted to comment on the matter said refugees should not compete with the natives, what is allocated to them by the development partners is enough to kick-start their lives.

“Most development partners allocate 70 percent of the aid to refugees and 30, percent goes to the host communities,’’ he advised, adding that the aid received by refugees can help them sustain their lives.

A total of 70,000 refugees are settled in the three settlement centres of Palabek- Kal, Palabek- Gem and Palabek- Ogiri all in Lamwo district.

In 2016, the government launched the UWEP programme at a tune of Shs 53 billion, to support women through the provision of interest-free credit and technical advice.

Government earmarked Shs265b to empower poor and unemployed youth countrywide in 2013. The Livelihood Programme targets unemployed youth.

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Lira land board secretary in trouble over corruption

LIRA– The acting secretary for Lira district land board, Pastor Francis Okello Olwa is in trouble again for illegally processing a land title for Mayor’s Gardens in Lira City and allocating part of the land to a top businessman in the city.

According to a source at Lira City Council, Okello Olwa was processing the title without notifying the council yet the board was suspended by the Lands minister two months ago.

“It raised a lot of queries because the district land board was suspended and secondly the City council didn’t discuss anything pertaining to the processing title for Lira mayor’s garden,” a source who declined to be quoted said.

“We have also learned that part of the land neighboring Shell fuel station was allocated to a businessman in the City,” he added.

Okello Olwa after he was arrested (Photo by Patrick O. Adupa)

Olwa who is a senior pastor at Truth Fountain West in Lira City was arrested in April 2022 while ferrying a heap of land-related documents in his car at night. He was released on police bond pending investigation.

But a few days later, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba, suspended the district land board.

“The purpose of this letter is to suspend the officials of the board to pave way for investigation into the allegation,” she added.

Among those that were supposed to be kicked out as per the minister’s letter were; Okello Olwa, Paul Cankoma (chairperson) and four others.

However, the district Chairperson, Richard Coxson Okello Orik has since turned down the minister`s directive to suspend the board members, saying he had not seen any crime committed by the board, therefore they could not leave office.

A team from State House Anti-corruption Unit, stormed the district and re-arrested Okello Olwa, and whisked him to Kampala.

Samuel Arinatwe, an investigating officer in the case said the suspect hid key documents in relation to fraudulent land transactions but they are still tracing.

“We managed to recover one among the many documents we are still demanding,” he added.

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Fall Armyworms invade Pader district as Amuru farmers are advised on cheap loans

PADER– Several farmers in Pader district are counting losses following the invasion by Fall Armyworms that have destroyed several acreages of maize, simsim, millet, and sorghum, resulting in instability on the side of farmers who used loans.

Armyworms are usually active at night and tend to hide underneath garden and lawn debris during the day.

The most affected farmers are those in the sub-counties of Ogom, Pokor, and Pajule.

One of the affected farmers, Yansio Kalenga Ogibu, told theCooperator that they are troubled as the office of the district agriculture officer has not responded to farmers’ cries.

“Imagine the rains came late and what we have put in the soil has also been eaten up by the worms. We realize our household income through farming and if we are not helped we are in danger,” he said Ogibu whose five acres of maize have been eaten up by the worms.

James Okiror who grows mainly maize in Ogom Sub County is scared of the loan he borrowed to farm because the worms have destroyed most of the maize he had grown.

Okiror said farming in the area faces many challenges and that the worms have worsened the situation. He urged the government to support the households whose gardens have been attacked by the armyworms.

District Agricultural Officer Pader Seydo Opoka, acknowledged the presence of the moths in the district and said many farmers are now counting losses.

“The rains came late and the little that is being grown has also gone to waste. We are equally concerned, looking at the damages our farmers are counting. We have written to the Ministry of Agriculture for support in terms of chemicals to spray the worms, but no response yet,” he said.

He however advised farmers to get support themselves by getting chemicals that can help them out as they wait for the response from the ministry.

In 2019, the worms invaded a farm belonging to Amuru government prison, destroying several acres of maize at that time.

Meanwhile, both the commercial and smallholder farmers in Amuru district have been advised to reach out to banks where the government allocated agriculture loans so that they can boost their production.

In an interview with theCooperator, District Agricultural Officer Amuru, Simon Peter Komakech, said that some farmers who borrow loans individually have not succeeded and urged farmers to work in groups.

“Well, the commercial farmers have been able to get the loans but several small-scale farmers have gotten challenges. They should register first, have bylaws in place so that the district can direct them on what is needed to get those loans,” he said.

His remarks come at the time when several farmers urging the banks where agricultural loans were channeled by the government to relax the tough conditions set to borrow funds. Farmers say they use community land and therefore do not have collateral demanded by the banks.

Amuru district is known for rice, maize, and Soybean growing with several commercial farmers using modern technologies.

Joyce Akullu, who deals in rice growing in Pabbo Subcounty, noted that the district leaders have not been helpful to the farmers as far as technical support is concerned.

“We struggle to have the documents in place for banks to look at but when some farmers are sent back twice, they lose hope and they pull out,” she said.

She urged the district leadership and banks to discuss how best they help farmers access cheap loans.

The agricultural loans scheme was designed to finance business activities in agricultural production, processing, and marketing in 2010.

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Oil refinery project affected persons get land titles

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.

https://thecooperator.news/rt-archbishop-ntagali-and-residents-affected-by-eacop-protests-unfair-treatment/

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