3rd February 2023
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WBG MPs to probe alleged sale of sport fields to investors

Author: Deng Dimo | Published: Friday, August 19, 2022

Aerial view of Wau town. (Photo: Courtesy.)

Western Bahr el Ghazal State’s legislative assembly said it is investigating claims that the state executive intends to lease out several playgrounds in Wau town to investors.

Addressing the public during the graduation of health workers in Wau town On Tuesday, Governor Sarah Cleto threatened to withdraw all undeveloped plots that were allotted to the citizens.

Cleto said, she would next week table a motion at the cabinet to seek approval of her decision.

“There is something I want to say, that maybe, all the plots in Wau are owned. If you touch this place, it belongs to someone and tomorrow people are coming looking for plots which they don’t build,” said Governor Cleto.

“I want to tell the minister for Housing that anyone given a land should know that if she or he did not build it in a year or one year and half but did not develop it, we will take it immediately,” she added.

Cleto said she plans to discuss the issue at her council of ministers meeting.

She added, “if you want a piece of land, you have to move outside of municipality to get land, we are going to see these plots if they are not developed, the government will retake them back.”

The statement prompted the state legislature to summon the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports on Wednesday to answer allegations that the executive has grabbed some undeveloped plots including playgrounds.

According to lawmaker Agala Simon Mohamed, who doubles as the Information Chairperson at the state assembly, the youth have been denied Jazeera, Isaac and Daraja playgrounds.

“The minister told us that all activities in these places have been suspended but you cannot order person out from the place while they are benefiting from these areas,” he said.

MP Mohamed alleged that playgrounds may have been taken by individuals in the state government.

“The minister told us that he and the minister for housing were working on it but this does not mean Daraja ground alone, we have so many playgrounds in Wau town that we are asking about their status.”

When contacted by Eye Radio, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Mohamed Ali Goni distanced himself from the matter saying the issue of land is the responsibility of state Ministry of Physical Infrastructure.

“The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure is responsible for knowing who have built there. They first review the documents of the lands and as we all know that since 1979, these places were known as markets before they were allocated to us.”

“We have 43 playgrounds in the ministry and they were not registered, we have started registering them now, we have registered 17 now which we have paid for them.

Meanwhile, Alfred Angok Uliny, a civil society activist for land rights has acknowledged the position of the government on the state land policies.

But the Executive Director for Greater Bahr el Ghazal Land Alliance, argues that long civil war in the country has incapacitated the citizens to develop their lands.

Uliny is now calling on the state authorities to give more time to the citizens to gather resources to develop their land.



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