The government of Torit State has vowed to demolish commercial buildings that were illegally erected at the border town of Nimule.
This is part of the state’s plan to expand Nimule custom market.
But this strategy has been met with resistance from traders – who are demanding for compensation before the demolition exercise.
The border area, which is now growing into a trading center, is inhabited by the Madi people.
The other residents are communities who settled in the area as IDPs during the 21-year civil war, particularly in the 1990s.
According to Torit state deputy governor, Dr. Margaret Itto, who spoke an event in the area over the weekend, most of the traders in Nimule do not have title deeds for the pieces of land they are occupying.
“It was very sad for me to hear that [some say] we found nobody here and we built here …”
Dr. Itto the asked the traders to prepare for the demolition:
“Yes, we all know that there was war, everybody was out of the country and when you have come to a place of a person who was not there, you don’t own the place,” she said.
However, the business community there say of course they do not own the land. But they should be compensated.
“We don’t say we own the place, but if you are not informed by the gov’t and the gov’t is with you, from the beginning up to today how can we be blamed,” Abraham Chol, the Chairperson of Nimule business community questioned the move.
But Dr. Itto insisted that only those who have land documents – if there are any – will be compensated….
“Until you get those kind of papers, you have no ownership…it will go without compensation. If there is any compensation, it is only the respective body who will compensate you out of their goodwill.”
The deputy governor of Torit state, Dr. Margret Itto, and the chairman of Nimule business community – Abraham Chol – were speaking at meeting to resolve land disputes between custom officials and traders in Nimule over the weekend.