More than 500 families in Madogo area of Tana River County are living in fear of eviction by National Youth Service (NYS) after it emerged that the government agency acquired an allotment letter for the land in question through questionable means.
The affected residents now want all land documents related to the Madogo land held by NYS revoked and a fresh and independent team appointed to authenticate ownership of the land now under dispute.
According to the residents, the land parcel which the NYS camp is staking a claim on was established in 1983 as a transit camp during the tarmacking of the Garissa-Hola road.
They claimed that it was a local arrangement with the community on the agreement that once the road works were completed they were to vacate the site.
Some of the residents who were issued with eviction notices by NYS in 2013 but which was not effected claim they have spotted NYS officials on several occasions at the said land after the announcement by the President in 2018 that all grabbed land belonging to NYS be repossessed and issued with title deeds.
Speaking after holding a meeting to discuss the way forward on how best to legalise ownership of the land, the residents demanded that NYS vacate the camp forthwith since they did not have any legal documents from the defunct Tana River County Council showing that the land actually belong to them.
Last week in another meeting the residents turned down the request by their elected leaders that a committee comprising of their representatives, NYS and lands officials from Tana River County Government be formed to validate documents held by NYS.
Salat Garacha a former Tana River County Council chairman said there are no minutes showing that NYS were allocated the land as was the procedure then.
Garacha reiterated that the land NYS is occupying in Madogo was a transit camp that was given to them by Madogo elders when they were tarmacking the Garissa-Bura-Hola road.
“By issuing an eviction notice NYS is creating bad blood between them and Madogo residents. According to us NYS doesn’t have documents to show that the land actually belongs to them. The only option left for them is to vacate to avoid confrontation with the residents,” Garacha said.
“If anything the documents they are holding were prepared in Nairobi and the Tana River county government who are the custodian of the land in question were never involved,” he added.
Mohammud Wario who is also the ‘King’ of Munyoyaya community produced a county taskforce committee report on land status of September-December 2014 that states that NYS do not own land in Madogo and a series of meetings were conducted to revert the land to the community.
Contacted for comment area MP Ali Wario said that he was aware of the dispute and added that as leaders they are exploring all available options to ensure that an amicable solution is found.
“We would not like to see a situation where NYS and the locals confront each other. We shall do everything within our means as leaders to ensure that the issue that has dragged for sometimes now is resolved once and for all,” Wario said.
By Jacob Songok