By ZUBEIR ATHMAN
There is relief for residents in Kiunga Village on the border of Lamu and Somalia after the county government of Lamu issued title deeds for more than 200 owners of houses within the Kiunga Township.
The event to issue the title deeds was presided over by Governor Fahim Twaha over the weekend.
During the event, Mr Twaha also launched a land survey exercise for all the farmlands within Kiunga and its environs with intention to issue more land documents in the near future.
Land remains a major area of contention for Lamu considering many lands in the region are still classified as public lands, making it easy for grabbers to take advantage.
The resultant situation has seen thousands rendered squatters on their lands as moneyed tycoons move in to claim what is not theirs.
Addressing the residents at Kiunga however, Twaha said his administration is committed to ensuring the various land issues are resolved but majorly the issue of squatters and issuance of title deeds to those already owning land.
The governor said his administration recognises the plight of squatters and that the already on-going survey exercises in various parts of the region are meant to ensure squatters are resettled and accorded title deeds.
He said within the period of three years that have passed, the county government under his leadership had issued a total of 6,232 title deeds to land owners in various parts of Lamu.
The county boss at the same time was committed to ensuring security of land against grabbers.
He said the county government’s plan is to resettle at least 20,000 squatters in Lamu before the first term of his leadership ends.
On her side, Lamu County Lands and Physical Planning Executive Fahima Araphat said the newly launched survey of the Kiunga farm lands will be completed in two months time.
Araphat said at least 500 title deeds are expected to be issued to the locals by the end of the survey exercise.
She said land surveys were also being undertaken in various parts of Lamu, including Pate, Mwambore, Hindi, Mokowe, Kiangwe, Kiwayu and Faza.
She said the county government was targeting to have at least 4000 title deeds issued to squatters every year.
The lands official, however, advised all the residents who have so far received title deeds for their plots to avoid selling off their lands.
“We’ve a scenario where people sell off their lands immediately they get title deeds. Please avoid selling your lands.”
“The Lamu Port (LAPSSET) project is coming and the value of land in Lamu continues to rise. You should protect those lands for your own good,” said Ms Araphat.
Ali Aboud, a resident in Kiunga could not hide his joy after receiving a title deed for his house.
Aboud said almost all the owners of houses in Kiunga Town have since time immemorial lived without any ownership document.
“You can imagine staying in a land or a house that you can’t prove ownership. Many lands here are yet to be demarcated which leads to increased land squabbles and conflicts.” Aboud