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Njeru Town Council, Agriculture Ministry Clash Over NAGRIC Land :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Njeru Town Council, Agriculture Ministry Clash Over NAGRIC Land

Lagu said the Ministry of Agriculture paid over Shillings 400 million in ground rent from 2003 until 2010. He accused Njeru Town Council of dishonesty, saying that NAGRIC paid ground rent for 750 acres yet it only occupies 562 acres.
The Buikwe District Physical Planner Sophia Hijira appearing before the Land Probe.

Audio 1

There is a dispute between Njeru Town Council and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries (MAAIF) over the land hosting the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank-NAGRIC.

The matter came to the fore during the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission, which is investigating a complaint filed by the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank-NAGRIC.  In his complaint to the Commission, Dr. Charles Lagu, the Executive Director NAGRIC says they are on the brink of losing the entire 1,066 acres of land hosting the center.  He explained that center has already lost 504 acres of land to grabbers.

He accused Njeru Town Council of continuing to sublease its land to private developers. He also noted that they are being threatened by the family of their former landlord, Ham Mukasa's family, which has expressed intentions to repossess its land. 

Lagu said the Ministry of Agriculture paid over Shillings 400 million in ground rent from 2003 until 2010 for the land to Njeru town. He accused Njeru Town Council of dishonesty, saying that NAGRIC paid ground rent for 750 acres yet it only occupies 562 acres.

In 1950, the colonial government obtained a lease for 1,066 acres of land from the Ham Mukasa family, which was inherited by Njeru town council after independence in 1962. Subsequently, in June 1967, Njeru Town Council subleased the land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC), which expires in 2027. 

The user department was Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).  The Buikwe District Physical Planner, Sophia Hijira, the former Njeru Town Council Physical Planner confirmed to the Commission on Friday that the Council had a lease from the Ham Mukasa family and subleased to MAAIF.

Asked by the Land Probe Assistant Lead Counsel, Andrew Odiit to explain the status of the land, Hijira, said that the landlord had already repossessed the land and that NAGRIC has an accumulated debt from 2002 for ground rent of 444 acres at Njeru Stock Farm.

She said that the relationship between Njeru Town Council and NAGRIC collapsed following non-payment of ground rent, which also affected the relationship between the council and landlord. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire blamed the mess on the Town Council authorities.

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Commissioner Mary Ochan said that the bickering between two government units could spell the end of the farm. She also expressed displeasure at the way the town council was conducting official business.

When asked by Probe Commissioner, Dr. Rose Nakayi whether the council had accepted defeat by the landlord, Hijira responded in the affirmative. Asked to propose how government can protect its land, Hijira said that government seems disinterested in staking its claim to the land and recommended proper documentation of government land.