95% of land in Turkana County grabbed – Report

95% of land in Turkana County grabbed – Report

Most of the land in Turkana County has been grabbed, especially after the discovery of oil deposits in the county and the launch of the LAPPSET infrastructure project from Lamu Port, a report by the Ministry of Lands has shown.

National Land Commission Chairperson Muhammad Swazuri said private developers have grabbed about 95 percent of the public land in Turkana targeting the new development and for speculation purposes, adding that the vice affects mostly government institutions.

The Lands Commission chair, who was speaking in Lodwar, has given a two week ultimatum to the said grabbers to surrender the land in their possession or face legal action.

In one particular case, much of the 28-acre land housing the Lodwar Police station has been grabbed. Structures have mushroomed near the station and it currently has little space for expansion.

A similar case was reported the National Museums of Kenya’s Kenyatta Prison Cell where Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was once detained.

According to Justus Erus, a curator at Lodwar Prisons, the land was allegedly grabbed by business people and churches who fenced it off using iron sheets.

He urged the national government to respond quickly to help reclaim the land, adding that the remaining prison’s land is 1.05 acres out of the 6 acres it originally had.

On his part, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok has called for the formulation of a tougher land legislation to minimise the rot that threatens the livelihoods of area residents and institutions.

Nanok noted that most government institutions in the county do not have title deeds, making them easy targets for land grabbers.

By Erick Owenga