UGANDA, Hoima | Real Muloodi News | 127 people affected by construction of the oil refinery in Hoima have finally received their land titles, after waiting close to 10 years.
It was all relief and jubilation for the 127 oil Project Affected Persons (PAPs) whose land was acquired for the sake of the construction of the oil refinery in Baseruka-Hoima.
Each affected person received two land titles: one for their farmland and another for their homes.
The people, now residents of Kyakabooga Resettlement Area, were displaced from Kabaale Parish in Hoima City in 2012 to give way for the oil refinery and Hoima International airport, which are under construction.
Representatives from the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, District Land Board, Ministry of Lands, Oil companies of Total Energies and CNOOC, Ministry of Energy and the local community were all in attendance.
The State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Peter Lokeris, while speaking at the ceremony encouraged the beneficiaries not to sell their property but rather preserve it for future generations.
“There is no individual or institution that has not received their land titles after being displaced by oil activities in this area. Whether church, police station or school; all have received their land titles and they are with them. I advise individual resettled oil Project Affected Persons (PAPs) to keep their land titles well for the future because they are evidence that they own their properties in a lawfully recognised manner,” Minister Lokeris said.
Micheal Kyakashari, the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner, also advised the resettled PAPs to use the land titles to position themselves so they can benefit from the oil and gas in the area.
Christine Nyangoma is one of the residents that received the land titles. She appreciated the Non-Governmental Organisations such as Global Rights Alert that have consistently advocated for their rights until they got their compensation.
“This is such a relief because before this, we could not access loans for school fees or even when our children fell sick because we did not have land titles for surety. I am also one of the people that had been affected by EACOP but undervalued because of a lack of a land title. I am now going to appeal for better compensation,” Nyangoma says.
Winfred Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director of Global Rights Alert, said that receiving land titles provides land tenure security in an area with land conflicts and unnecessary evictions.
She adds that it will go a long way in assisting families affected by other oil development infrastructure to negotiate for fair compensation for their land and property since they are now landowners and not mere users.
In a developing economy, these titles can secure resources such as loans from credible institutions to support businesses.
Ngabiirwe notes that walking the ‘waiting’ journey with the PAPs at a family level for the past 10 years, she knows what this means to the many men and women who have been anxiously waiting.
Mr Honey Malinga, a geophysicist and Director of Petroleum at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, revealed that the government has processed and offered 127 land titles out of 133 through the line ministers.
He explained that the remaining six PAPs do not have any national identification, which is needed to authenticate their eligibility for compensation, but they are yet to receive their titles too.
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