In 2017, a report by the Ministry of Water and Environment on disasters mapped Gulu City among the areas in Northern Uganda, which are potentially prone to floods. As a result, the former Gulu Municipal Council recommended the widening of the banks of Pece Stream and secured the funding from Fichtner, two years ago.
Last week, authorities from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Ministry of Water and Environment started evicting all farmers operating in wetlands in the districts of Kabale, Rubanda and Rukiga.
Yudaya Nakinga, the Kakumiro District Natural Resources Officer who led the operation, says that they received intelligence information indicating that several hectares of the wetlands had been encroached on for different activities.
Moses Abonga, the Laroo Division LC 3 Chairperson reveals that several parts of the wetlands have been cultivated, adding that farmers use contaminated water to irrigate vegetables, which is a threat to public health and safety.
Emmy Katera, the Buhweju Resident District Commissioner, says the top district leadership is working with the environment department and police to arrest adamant people, who have continued to deplete wetlands in disregard of several warnings.
She told the Commission that the collapse of systems at the land registries together with integrity problems in land administration led to issuance of fake land titles that are now due for cancellation. She also claimed the land registrars need to be cushioned from politicians whom have partly contributed to the mess at the lands registry.
Buhweju District Police Commander Ben Nuwamanya says that the three had encroached on a bigger part of the wetland and turned it into a grazing and farming area. The suspects are now held at Buhweju Police Station.
Ntungamo Municipality Town Clerk Christopher Ahimbisibwe told URN that the destruction of the artificial forest aims to send a signal to all those involved in the destruction of natural resources to cease adding that all land encroached on will soon be recovered.
Uganda is eager to see that all Nile riparian states sign and ratify the Cooperative Framework Agreement CFA, also known as the Entebbe Agreement. The agreement outlines principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources.
Simon Peter Okoshi, the Deputy Commandant of the Environmental Police Protection Unit, says the operations were prompted by numerous complaints on the rapid destruction of the ecosystem in the country.