Evictions loom as private firm, NTSA reclaim lands

Obama estate

A man walks by a school in Obama estate in  Kayole, Nairobi, yesterday. The land on which the estate sits has been claimed by Broadwell  Limited.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Over 10,000 residents of Obama estate, 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 a 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 landowners.

The owners 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 landowner, to pay for the land, or vacate the premises.

The deadline for these two options is January 31, failing which Broadwell will evict the settlers.

In what has become a common occurrence, thousands of Kenyans are being sold land by unscrupulous dealers who falsify documents. This was the case with the Obama homeowners who were sold plots on LR18282 by the Daylight Self-help Group on different dates.

Documents seen by the Nation show that despite numerous attempts by Broadwell to stop the invasion of the land, nothing came 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, Broadwell’s managing director.

Over 100 Voi residents face eviction from six-acre land owned by NTSA

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, the people who invaded the property registered the self-help group to “manage” the land. The group subdivided the land and eventually began selling plots to unsuspecting buyers. By 2012, a new crop of owners began building their homes.

In 2021, the courts ruled against Daylight Self-help Group, restraining it from trespassing on Broadwell’s property and adding that it should be evicted.

“It is clear that the plaintiff (Broadwell) owns the suit property. I find that the plaintiff has indeed proved his case. Therefore, I enter judgment in favour of the plaintiff,” Justice EO Obaga said on February 18, 2021.

After the judgment, Broadwell attempted to meet with Daylight representatives to resolve the matter amicably but this did not bear fruit.

“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.

In Voi, more than 100 residents are facing eviction by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) after the agency erected beacons on the land where they are living.

The residents, who have built houses, shops and churches on the land, say they have been living on the six-acre land since the 1960s and accuse the authority of grabbing it.

One of the residents, Erestinah Gadi, 75, told the Nation that she has lived there since 1966 when she got married.

“We don't know where to go. We are afraid that they will come back and demolish our houses. We did not know this was government land,” said Ms Gadi, adding that both her husband and mother-in-law are buried there.

“We need an explanation because no one has given us any information except that they are putting up beacons,” she said.

She said their previous efforts to have the land surveyed and title deeds issued had failed as the area was skipped by land officials during an exercise a few years ago.

NTSA said the land was allotted to it and has been earmarked for the construction of a vehicle inspection centre since 1992. It added that it had notified residents of its intention to take possession of the land and given them time to vacate.