District Security Committee Probing Illegal Sale of Land on Atera Ranch

1482 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
James Olwa, a resident of Abongokere B' Cell at Tarogali Parish - Ibuje Sub County confessed to have bought a plot of land measuring 100 by 100 meters at UGX 150,000 in 2007 on the ranch.

Apac District security committee has launched investigations into the illegal and rampant sell of land at the government owned Atera Ranch. It follows reports that some of the people on the ranch are clandestinely selling off land to private developers. Atera Ranch is found in Akokoro Sub County. It sits on 64 square kilometers of land. 

Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons settled on the ranch in 2000 at the height of the Lord's Resistance Army rebel insurgency. Currently, about 1000 people are living on the ranch. They claim to have bought the plots of land they occupy from the previous occupants. 

Our reporter visited Atera Ranch and found out that, a plot of land goes for between UGX 100,000 and 150,000. James Olwa, a resident of Abongokere B' Cell at Tarogali Parish - Ibuje Sub County confessed to have bought a plot of land measuring 100 by 100 meters at UGX 150,000 in 2007 on the ranch. He however, declined to reveal the identity of the person who sold to him the land. 

Bernard Okao, a resident of Corner Mulema, a famous business trading center on the ranch says he also bought his plot of land three years ago. He says some residents are still selling off land clandestinely. Richard Odongo, the Abongokere village LCI chairperson says several district officials both in Apac and outside have also bought land on the ranch. 

He however, didn't name the implicated officials. Jack Odur, the Apac Resident District Commissioner says they have embarked on investigations to establish those behind the sale of land in the government ranch adding that, a report will be issued soon.

Odongo Asanti, the Apac district LC V vice chairperson says those who have bought lands on the ranch risk losing their money. According to Asanti, the ranch belongs to government and nobody has authority to sell its land. In September 2014, Lira high court blocked Apac district security committee from evicting more than 7,000 squatters on the ranch.

 The squatters are mainly former IDPs from east Lango, Kaberamaido, Nakasongola and Kiryandongo districts. They are involved in both commercial and subsistence agriculture and charcoal burning.

 

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