The Garissa Governor, Ali Korane has urged LAPSSET officials surveying land meant for the project in Garissa County to defer the exercise forthwith.
Addressing the press in Garissa town on Mon
day, Korane said that his administration has not been consulted and wondered under whose authority the officials were surveying the land.
Korane said that land in Garissa County and North Eastern in general is communal and is being held in trust by the respective counties.
The Governor was reacting to reports that surveyors contracted by the LAPSSET project have started prospecting the land for the project in parts of Ijara and Fafi Sub-counties.
Korane said that up to now the County has not signed any contractual agreement with the LAPSET project as it ought to have been the case.
“Land is a devolved function and all departments that deal with land are under the County Government. The LAPSSET project should, therefore, engage the County Government through the relevant departments on the land they intend to use for the project,” Korane said.
“As elected leaders and the custodian of the land we are worried and want the situation corrected and the laid down procedures on government acquisition of land meant for projects followed to the later,” he said.
Korane said that although land in the region is communal, the government cannot out rightly possess it without consulting the community.
“We want to know from LAPSET who authorised them to survey land in Garissa County without the input of the County Government. This is wrong and it is an acceptable,” the Governor reiterated.
“We are not opposed to the project but we want the right procedures to be followed. The massive project will create jobs for our youth as well as boost the economy of the region,” he noted.
In October, Korane who met the Director of the Kenya Ports Authority, Col. (Rtd) Conrad Thorpe and representatives from KPA, LAPSSET, KRA and Critical Infrastructure Police Unit (CIPU) where he reiterated the need for compensation of communally owned land before the project proceeds.
Col. Thorpe described Garissa as “strategically placed” to facilitate trade not just from North Eastern Kenya but the whole of the Somali Republic.
The project component comprises of a railway line, oil pipeline and a tarmac road and will pass through Garissa-Isiolo counties all the way to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
By Jacob Songok