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Thousands of Nairobi residents face eviction as firms reclaim lands

Over 10,000 residents of Obama Estate in Nairobi are living in fear of eviction after the original owner of the land served them notices on Wednesday morning to vacate.

This is after the court ruled that the 18.6 acres of land, currently valued at over Sh3 billion and housing over 3,500 households, was sold to the current occupants illegally and without the knowledge of the land owners.

The landlords of the hundreds of rental apartments, schools, churches and private homes have a maximum of two weeks to either reach an agreement with Broadwell Limited, the rightful land owners, to pay for the properties they occupy, or vacate the premises.

The deadline for these two options is January 31, 2024, failing which Broadwell Limited must ensure that the squatters on its land are evicted.

In what has become a common occurrence, thousands of Kenyans are being sold land by unscrupulous land dealers who falsify documents and issue willing buyers with certificates proving ownership of property they do not own.

This was the case with the Obama homeowners who were sold plots of 18.6 acres of land, LR No 18282, by the Daylight Self-help Group on different dates.

Documents seen by the Nation show that despite numerous attempts by Broadwell Limited to stop the invasion of the land by groups of people, nothing has come of it.

“We have tried several times to stop the invasion but we have always been threatened with violence and that is why we have gone to court. Even the Obama Police Station is on our land but we have no problem with the security apparatus there because they provide security,” said Nicholas Mage, the Managing Director of Breadwell Limited.

The company acquired the land in 1992 from the then Nairobi City Council and was granted a 99-year lease from April 1, 1992. Over the years, however, the people who invaded the property registered the aforementioned self-help group to “manage” the land.

As ridiculous as the move may be, the group subdivided the land and eventually began selling plots to unsuspecting buyers, and by 2012, a crop of new landowners began building their homes in the area.

By 2016, many six-story buildings had mushroomed on the disputed land. It is this sad reality of private investment on his land that sent Broadwell to the Milimani courts to defend his property.

Five years later, the court ruled against the Daylight Self-help Group, restraining it from trespassing on Broadwell’s property and adding that Daylight should be evicted from the land in suit.

“A declaration that the plaintiff (Broadwell) is the legal owner of the entire parcel of land known as LR No. 18282… It is clear that the plaintiff owns the suit property. I find that the plaintiff has indeed proved his case. Therefore, I enter judgment in favor of the plaintiff,” Judge E.O. Obaga said in his ruling on February 18, 2021.

Although they received the favorable ruling and presented it to Daylight, their requests to meet and resolve the matter amicably and avoid eviction and demolition have not borne fruit, leading to the harsh decision Broadwell has now made; to issue a 14-day eviction notice.

“Our instructions are that you vacate the property within the next 14 days, failing which our client will forcibly evict you at your own expense and risk,” reads part of the eviction notice issued by Broadwell’s lawyers to the Daylight Self-help Group.

In Voi, more than 100 residents of Taita Taveta District are facing another eviction, this time by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

The residents, who have built houses, shops and churches on the land, say they have been living on a six-acre piece of land since the 1960s and accuse the authority of grabbing their land, which they say they inherited from their ancestors.

The NTSA has already erected beacons to mark its boundaries.

One of the residents, Erestinah Gadi, 75, told the Nation that she had lived there since March 1966, when she was married by her late husband and joined his family there.

Ms. Gadi said she had never heard that the area was government land until recently, when she saw the NTSA erecting beacons in the area.

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