National, News

Gov’t bigwigs top land grabbers–Wani

By William Madouk


Juba County Commissioner has accused high-profile government officials and high-ranking security officers of being leading land grabbers in Juba City.

Engineer Charles Wani Joseph said land grabbing in Juba city by organised curtail stemmed way back after the signing of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement.

“An organized group supported by high-ranking security officers and senior people in the government is behind these cases of land grabbing in Juba,” he disclosed.

The commissioner was responding to MPs’ queries on insecurity and rampant land grabbing.

He maintained that Juba had been demarcated since the colonial era, but the influx citizens after it’s becoming a city created pressure as many needed places to settle.

Mr. Wani classifies land grabbers into three categories: first, those who want to settle but cannot find a place and later buy it from land grabbers.

According to him, another is the syndicate group supported by senior government and security officers who grab land for the purpose of businesses and sell it out to innocent civilians to gain wealth.

Also, the Juba commissioner noted that the last category is those who occupy the land from poor people by use of force.

“Yes, there have been arrests made so far by the security apparatus, apprehending both senior security officers and senior government officials in the civil service,” he revealed, the tip of the iceberg.

Mr. Wani noted that those arrested were sentenced to six or three months’ imprisonment, yet they were released before serving their sentence by another court order.

“Unfortunately, those arrested and taken to prison are later found to have been released with clear evidence of court order. This means there are individual high-ranking officials in support of criminal activities,” he lamented.

According to Commissioner Wani, those land grabbers are armed to the teeth with all sorts of weapons, and impunity makes it hard for them to deal with.

He also accused some members of parliament of being involved in the unlawful acquisition of land as well.

The commissioner clarified that the Local Government Act 2009 and the Land Act 2011, respectively, provide legal ways of acquiring land for settlement and commercial usage, adding that they abide by those documents.

To Eng. Wani, major challenges are the issue of impunity as well as the lack of support for county administration, including low interventions.

However, the commissioner did not disclose names of the high-profile government officials; he claimed were involved in land-grabbing activities in Juba City.

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