By Lopu Moses
JUBA, 19th February 2012 [Gurtong] - Over one thousand returnees from Central Equatoria State (CES) yesterday converged at Buluk ground to demand the State and national government to allocate them plots.
The returnees said that some of them who came a year ago and those who have spent six months in the huts of their relatives are urging the government to take their call very serious.
The Deputy Chairman of the Peace and Development Committee for Returnees, James Ramadan Charles cited a few challenges that they have faced ever since they returned from the North where they took refugees as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
“We are urging the government to allocate for us plots so that we can settle. We also want to be offered land and tools for agriculture so that we are not dependent on other people,” he said.
He also mentioned the issue of unemployment for the returnees which he said is alarming. Meanwhile, chief Sultan Samuel Abdhala Juma said that the IDPs voted for separation because they wanted a country of their own after they went through hell in the North. He also said that circumstances were not friendly which compelled them to go to the North.
Abdala added that many of the South Sudanese mistrusted them thinking that they were going to vote for unity but that they disapproved the voices during the voting.
He further said that they would no longer tolerate being enslaved in the North after the South unanimously voted for secession.
The Chief Executive Officer of Juba City Council, Johnson Swaka Nishak congratulated the returnees for coming to the South. He further said that they are very much aware of the challenges and that the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing plots allocation.
Nevertheless, he said that he has knowledge of 2,000 plots that the Ministry is working on for the returnees. He however noted that the plots will not be enough and called for calm among the returnees as the ministry works to resolve the issue.
He also noted the importance of giving land to the returnees and called on all of them to be vigilant.
Swaka also urged the returnees to inform their friends and families who are still in the North to return before the deadline which is set on 8th of April.
The Deputy Speaker of Central Equatoria State, Hastin Yokwe Anisio promised to look into the grievances of the returnees and to forward the matter to the State parliament for deliberations.