Lamu, KENYA: The National Lands Commission-NLC is on the spotlight for injustices and mistreatment conducted by the commission, concerning compensation of landowners whose lands have been acquired for various national projects in Lamu county.
The NLC is said to be frustrating and duping land owners at the multi-billion LAPSSET land site in Kililana and Mashunduni and the Sh.200 billion coal plant land site ak Kwasasi in Lamu.
Speaking before the National Assembly Departmental Committee on Lands in Lamu on Sunday,residents pointed an accusing finger at the NLC chair Muhammad Swazuri and said he had been oppressing them.
The coming of the committee to Lamu follows a successful petition filed by the county woman rep Shakilla Abdalla on the illegal allocation of land in the county.
The chairperson of the Kililana land owners where the Lapsset is situated Bakari Famau, told the committee that a big percentage of the genuine land owners were never compensated and that instead,the commission knowingly paid off impostors and ghost claimants.
He said the NLC had also cunningly acquired more land than what had been initially agreed upon and paid for.
“The 70,000 acres that the NLC has declared belongs to the LAPSSET wasn’t the initial agreement. The LAPSSET land wasn’t even supposed to be half of that;most of us lost our lands and were never paid a penny since impostors and ghost claimants invaded the process.The NLC chair is aware because we tried unsuccessfully to reach him on the matter but he didn’t believe us,”said Bakari.
Land owners at Kwasasi where the Sh.200 billion coal plant is to be set up accused the NLC of forcing them to accepting a lesser compensation figure of Sh.800,000 per acre which they say was arrived at without their knowledge and consultation.
They also urged the committee to probe how acres of land were measured and said many injustices had been committed during the process.
“Some of us had 11 acres of land but after the NLC came to do the measurements and approximations for compensation,we were instead told we only had four acres. We want the commission to make public the criteria they used in turning an 11 acre piece of land into a four acre one.We also want the compensation money increased to Sh.2 million per acre just like with the LAPSSET,” said Yeri Mussa.
The committee chairperson who is also Kajiiado West Mp Moses Sakuda, assured residents that their claims would be looked into promptly and that the NCL chair indulgence would be sort in all matters pointing to him concerning lands in Lamu.
“What we have heard is quite unfortunate. We shall engage Swazuri who will tell us more on the accusations leveled against him, but even before that I must say we are disappointed in him. We didn’t expect that at all,”said Sakuda.
Other committee members present were Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, Charles Nyamai-Kitui Rural, Patrick Makau-Mavoko, Benson Mbai-Masinga, Julius Ndegwa Lamu west,Kericho woman rep, Hellen Chepkwony and her Lamu counterpart, Shakila Abdalla.