Juba County commissioner rubbishes land grabbing allegations

By Bida Elly David

The Commissioner of Juba County has been accused by some residents of Loriki for illegal land grabbing in the area driven from the attempted displacement that resulted into exchange of guns formerly between the community and the county police.

This came following the land dispute among the community of Loriki resulting to firing of two officers who went to evaluate the cause of the incident and protect lives of the people.

An anonymous source in an interview with No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper revealed that the commissioner relocated his office to Kapuri with the intention of owning plots of land for himself.

“The commissioner of Juba County was the cause of the fighting in Loriki where two police officers were shot. He built his office in Kapuri with the intention of grabbing land. He has event built shops next to his offices,” he said.

However, Flora Kadi, the press secretary in the office of the commissioner said her accused boss has no intention to forcefully grab land from any individual rather pave legal ways of acquisition.

“The claims from people accusing Juba County commissioner for land grabbing were not true and were rumors and wrong. Land problems didn’t start from the current commissioner. The land disputes started since independence,” she said.

“The commissioner was only trying to find ways through which land disputes should be resolved. The inhabitants have been complaining about high land charges by illegal land committees. Women raised their complaints that they have been charged to pay the amount of five hundred thousand, one million and others three million South Sudanese pounds but later, it was noticed that the money did not reach the hands of the community,” she exclaimed.

The office of the commissioner also condemns the rumors from some sources implicating the relocation of his office to Luri -payam as a mechanism and strategy to grab land from people for his own benefit.

“The commissioner relocated to Kapuri because it is his territory. A commissioner is not entitled to base in town. He did not go there with the aim of grabbing land. He shifted his office there upon permission from the community of that payam. Where his office is based is not his place. He asked for it from the community that permitted him to construct. One day if he is relieved, the next successor will find the office. The office is for the nation,” she stated.

They said that a strategy has been laid by Juba County to create awareness to people regarding criteria through which land would be acquired at the county, community and housing levels.

The local authority said that land disputes arise because people failed to understand the legal mechanism to obtain land.

“The people living in that area were the ones who came to report about land disputes in their zone to Juba County office. From there the commissioner took the initiative to go and witness what was happening. Upon reaching to the area, they found military officers and other residents in the area well-armed. Those ones armed immediately turned with bullets against the officers who went to protect the civilians amid the disputes,” she lamented.

However, she cautioned citizens of unnecessary accusations and urged presentation of evidence before passing into final conclusion.

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