Lamu senator Abu Chiaba has called for thorough investigations into all individual ownering large tracts of land in the county over allegations of illegal and irregular acquisitions.
Chiaba also appealed to the National Land Commission (NLC) to work with the county government of Lamu in ensuring title deeds are issued to all genuine land owners in the region.
Chiaba said it was unrealistic that the number of squatters in the county kept rising by the day while questionable large pieces of land were in the hands of a few individuals.
He called on the NLC to distribute all lands occupied by squatters in Lamu to all landless people in the region and accord them title deeds.
“It’s obvious that some people have come and grabbed huge pieces of land here while the natives continue to suffer as squatters on their own lands. Some lands were acquired in the name of starting public projects that have never taken off. We want those investigated and have them returned to the public. Let squatters also be allocated title deeds for the lands they currently occupy to cut down on landlessness,” said Chiaba.
He said it was unfortunate that over 70% of Lamu’s population were yet to acquire title deeds for their landas, making it very easy for grabbers to perpetuate their acts.
“Land conflicts keep rising with each passing day. People have no titles to enable them safeguard their lands. Grabbers have invaded this place in their numbers. We need a fast solution to this matter,”he added.
There has been a reported increase of new land ‘owners’ who have mostly invaded areas occupied by squatters in Lamu especially Wetemer and Tewa schemes in Baharini, Mpeketoni with the number said to be growing each day.
“They just come and allocate themselves land and fence it off not caring who lives inside the area they just grabbed. They then throw us out and threaten us or our families. Living each day close to such people is a nightmare. The NLC should demarcate the schemes and give us titles,”said Mohamed Suud,a squatter from Wetemere.
Land ownership and acquisition in Lamu continues to be an issue of contention with increased reports of land grabbing and irregular acquisition.