Lands Minister Betty Amongi has for the first time intervened in the land struggle between Soroti University and the neighboring residents of Aputon village, who both claim ownership of land measuring 110 hectares.
The fight has been ongoing for three years, causing delay of the opening of the new University for two academic years.
Former education Minister Jessica Alupo recently told press that if the question of land is not resolved Soroti University might never open.
Following appeals from the people of Aputon through the Teso Parliamentary Group headed by Serere legislator Patrick Okabe; Minister Amongi yesterday rushed to the area to save the situation.
The minister addressed the affected residents and a few of the University staff of Soroti University, urging them to look for agreeable avenues to resolve the squabbles.
Amongi also condemned the actions taken by Soroti University of using force to evict the locals.
Accompanied by fellow minister Musa Ecweru (disaster preparedness), Jaff Akiror Agnes (Teso Affairs) and Teso MPs, Amongi advised the university to stop what she termed as illegal evictions before compensating land owners.
She said her ministry has already started investigating people who are behind the forceful night evictions of Aputon residents without following the right procedures.
On Saturday evening, Minister Amongi launched the resurveying and opening of boundaries between locals of Aputon and Soroti University, which process is expected to last two days.
While showing the original 1952 land title of Teso College Aloet – which gave land to the new Soroti University, the minister emphasized that the land in contest doesn’t belong to the University.
She also questioned how a government institution could get involved in scrabbles with residents, while leaving another 400 hectares undeveloped.
Amiongi promised to investigate “people with selfish interests” who want to grab peoples land in the names of the Government institution.