Lamu, KENYA: Lamu residents have now joined hands with their leaders to oppose the allocation of 70,000 acres of land to the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor project-LAPPSET project citing massive irregularities.
Landowners who have been displaced by the LAPPSET project are accusing the National Land Commission-NLC of duping them off their lands and now want the commission to cancel a title deed issued to the port for the 70,000 acres of land four years ago.
They now want the EACC to intervene and probe the matter.
The Lapsset is a Sh.2.5 Trillion project being set up at Kililana and Mashunduani areas in Lamu West.
A week ago, Lamu governor Fahim Twaha led other county leaders in a walkout from a meeting concerning the Lapsset which was chaired by Petroleum PS Andrew Kamau at a Lamu hotel citing non-cooperation on the part of the government.
The meeting’s main objective had been to deliberate on matters of land acquisition for the Trillion shilling.
The leaders had said the national government and the NLC had refused to listen to and address their grievances as a leader on the issue of land acquisition for the project.
They also accused the NLC of allocating such a huge acreage of land to the Lapsset before fully compensating all those displaced.
Speaking when they met in Lamu on Tuesday, persons displaced by the Lapsset threw their weight behind their leaders adding that they feel the lands have been forcefully snatched from them since the majority haven’t been compensated.
According to one of those displaced, Abdulrahman Aboud accused the NLC of arm-twisting them into thinking they would be paid for the lands only for them to find out they were being duped.
“The 70,000 acres is way much than what the NLC was supposed to have acquired for the Lapsset. They have expanded the acreage secretly without informing those displaced. Then we now get to hear they allocated a title deed for 70,000 acres. That’s stealing. They don’t want to pay for the extra acreage yet people have been displaced. That’s what we aren’t going to take. The NLC knows Lamu has land issues for long but they chose to take advantage of our naivety and steal from us and it’s unfair,” said Aboud.
The landowners are calling on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission-EACC to intervene and probe the matter which they say is a big scandal.
The NLC has also been put on the spot for compensating fake landowners in their initial process while the genuine ones were left squatting and wallowing in poverty.
Shumi Bwanamkuu says “That’s why we want the EACC to come in. The NLC is playing games with our land and we need to know why. Many of those whose lands have been acquired for the project haven’t even seen a dime yet the NLC will tell you that they compensated, who did they compensate because these people have been rendered squatters.