By Our Northern Uganda Correspondent

President Museveni has handed over customary land titles to the people  of  Apac District  in a concerted government project aimed at issuing titles to 275,000 families and 630 clans in the greater northern region.

“I congratulate the people of the Ministry of Lands for getting out of sleep and solving this problem. I am sure you know who owns what everywhere so why not capture it in a document and do what we have done here,” President Museveni said.

Minister of Lands ,Housing and Urban Development , Ms. Judith Nabakooba said the Ministry is implementing a very critical activity to register customary land and issue Certificates of Customary ownership to families and communities in the Northern Uganda, West Nile and Karamoja.

This work is being implemented by government with financial support from the European Union and United Nations Capital Development Fund. Other implementing Partners include Cadasta Foundation and CEDP of the World Bank.

“Government under the current manifesto pledged to process and give land owners legal documentation in terms of land titles. That is the basis for processing 4,006 customary titles for families in the Greater Northern Uganda.

More customary titles are to be processed by government, targeting the registration 275,000 families, 630 clans and indigenous and vulnerable communities within the next 2 years. Our target shall be to reach out to land owners in 35 districts in the country,” Nabakooba explained adding that this was the best way to secure customary ownership rights and thereby prevent public outcry, including stopping the abuse, stealing or grabbing of customary land by unscrupulous individuals, speculators and  land dealers.

The total number of  beneficiaries from Apac district is 6,393 of which 3,943 (62%) are male and 2,450 (38%) are female. The average acreage or land holding for families Apac district is 4.8 acres. In Maracha it is 2 acres; while in Agago it is 8 acres.   

Gen. Museveni, warned the beneficiaries against land fragmentation noting that the practice  is very dangerous for the country.

“If you have six acres and you die and leave behind six sons, if each takes one acre, the land disappears. In future, these children will have nowhere to cultivate.  The land becomes to  small, to  give  the owner sustainable value ,” the President told the residents .  

According to Nabakooba ,Apac now joins Kasese, Nwoya, Pader, Adjumani, Soroti, Katakwi, Butaleja, Kabale, Kisoro, Mbale, Dokolo and Amolatar  districts in helping land owners to benefit from land registration using modern and scientific  methods of securing their customary land rights and being able to prove their land ownership claims. 

The Minister thanked the area MPs especially the Apac Woman MP Hon Betty Engola for mobilizing the people in Apac to accept this important  government program-. “ Hon Engola articulated to our people, the benefits of land registration which would stop ‘Mayo Lobo’ (Land grabbing) and ‘Laro lobo’ (Land disputes).

Because of this achievement ‘Kuchi’ (Peace) has returned. I am informed that families and communities have began to engage in producing surplus food for sale, including growing Palm trees, Soya Beans, cotton and  sunflower among others, knowing that no one will destroy their cash crops through acts of illegal land evictions and destruction of their investments on land,” Nabakooba told the President.

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