NEBBI. The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development in conjunction with the participatory ecological land use management (PELUM) has started registering customary land in selected parishes of Erussi sub-county, Nebbi district.

The pilot project which started early this month is aimed at issuing at least 500 land certificates in the parishes of Pachaka, Pajur, Bongo, Payera and Padholo in a period of 5 months.

Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting at Nebbi district planning unit on Monday, Mr Moses Onen, the PELUM coordinator observed that one should have proof of ownership of land, no conflict and a national identity card in order to be registered.

He said the process of the registration which is worth UGX600M has been funded by Oxfam Uganda.

According to Onen, the time has come for cultural leaders to sensitize and mobilize communities to take advantage of the project so as to register their customary land.

“Since 80% of the land in the country is customarily owned, it is important for landowners to have proper documentation which will in return reduce the pressure on land and the numerous cases of land conflict,” Onen said.

Mr Hassan Kagala, a land officer in the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development said originally, the government didn’t have the funds to start the project until Oxfarm came in through PELUM.

Kagala advised that with the initiative in place, local governments can budget for land registration and continue even when PELUM leaves.

Mr Collins Jalachida Uromcan, the Erussi sub-county chairperson noted that people are more willing to register their land and that the set target of 500 land certificates is small given the interest people have shown on ground.

“Erussi sub-county has numerous cases of land conflicts which have resulted in deaths and displacement of many residents. This project has come timely since it will help in solving most of the land issues,” he said.

Uromcan urged the district to also consider continuing with the registration exercise even when the project ends by allocating more funds to facilitate the process to minimize cases of land conflict in the area.

Mr Gilbert Onencan, the Nebbi senior assistant secretary to the chief administrative officer (CAO) said people don’t have documentation for their customary land, a reason there are increasing cases of land wrangles in the district.

He said as Nebbi district local government, they had to welcome the project with the aim of protecting the people.

“Widows and the orphans are suffering because they do not have rights over land but this certificate will help them in case somebody dares to grab their land,” he said.