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Land Dispute Resurfaces in Adama : More than 80 farmers appealed in person to Oromia Regional Administration over transfer of their farm land

Adama

Land Dispute Resurfaces in Adama: More than 80 farmers appealed in person to Oromia Regional Administration over transfer of their farm land.

(Addis Fortune) — More than 80 farmers from Kebele 01, Adama Town, who claim their farmland has been transferred to teachers, civil servants and investors without compensation, have appealed in person to the Oromia Regional State’s President Office in Bole, along Africa Avenue, on 19 June, 2017, requesting compensation from the Adama City Administration.

This happened after the seizure of the lands by the city administration, according to the farmers.

The dispute over the land issue started in 2010 when the city administration officially informed the farmers to leave the land for development.

Since then, the city administration promised to give 500sqm and 200sqm as compensation to households and adults who live in the households, respectively. This, however, never materialised, according to the farmers.

Ever since the land became part of Adama City in 1984, many farmers were undertaking their day-to-day activities in the area including those who were working on the land seized.

Tirunesh Geleta, 60, was among the farmers who filed a complaint at the president’s office. She is a widow, leading a life assisted by her children who are working as daily labourers.

Before the confiscation, she had 45,000sqm of land and now this has diminished to 7,500sqm due to the recent move of the City Administration.

“I am in a crisis as the city administration tells me that I am entitled to get nothing from my own land,” she said. “This poses a serious threat to my livelihood.”

The appeal of the farmers, however, does not seem persuasive for Gosa Balcha, vice communication officer of the City Administration.

“It is a groundless claim,” Gosa said. “These people have no evidence to prove ownership of the land they are claiming about.

These people, according to him, occupied the land illegally.

“People with proven evidence have already been compensated,” he said. “And, those who claim to have evidence, it is fake documents given by the former administrators.”

The decision of whether to compensate the farmers was made by a committee formed to look at the case in 2014. The committee includes officials from Adama City, Oromia Urban Development & Industry Bureau and the region’s President Office.

Then, the committee studied the actual number of complaints and found that the farmers had not paid a land tax since they had acquired the land in the form of rent. There were also farmers who had the land tax receipt but have no land at all, according to Gosa.

Mitiku Eresa, head of the Oromia Urban Land Management Bureau is also aware of the situation.

“These people were paying rent instead of land taxes. So they cannot request compensation,” said Mitiku. “Compensation is given to farmers who have been ploughing and paying taxes since 2009.”

Nevertheless, the committee is still investigating the plea of the farmers.

“We will review the appeals and give a solution as soon as we can based on the law of the country,” Mitiku commented.

BY BERHANE HAILEMARIAM

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