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Another Round in 30-Year Fight for Rock in Lira City Ends

In September 2021, Ssalamu Godfrey Ngobi, the Assistant Registrar of Lira High Court issued a temporary injunction restraining Ibuje sub-county and Matrix Lands from carrying out any activities at Ibuje rock.
Court disposal letter obtained by URN


High Court in Lira City on Thursday dismissed a court injunction blocking Ibuje sub-county leaders and Matrix Lands Ltd. from quarrying stone at Ibuje rock in Apac District. This brings the disputes over eighty hectares of rock that started in the early 1990s to another halt.

Initially, Sadeen Al-Kuwait, the company that was contracted to undertake Rwengkunye-Apac-Lira-Puranga road construction was expected to use aggregate generated by Matrix Lands Ltd from the said rock.

In September 2021, Ssalamu Godfrey Ngobi, the Assistant Registrar of Lira High Court issued a temporary injunction restraining Ibuje sub-county and Matrix Lands from carrying out any activities at Ibuje rock.

The injunction grounded all road works requiring aggregates to a halt, pending the disposal of the application by Sophia Okune, the administrator of the Estate of the late Hon. Joseph William Okune and Awino Stone Quarry Cooperative Society.

Okune’s family accused Ibuje sub-county leaders, two other defendants and Matrix Lands Ltd who was contracted to provide stones for tarmacking Rwenkunye-Apac-Lira Road of trespass.

However, in a case that appeared before Hon. Justice Duncan Gaswaga, the Resident Judge Lira High Court Thursday, the court dismissed the application and ordered both applicants to pay the costs of the application.

Gaswaga in his dismissal directed the learned Registrar of Lira High Court to make the necessary arrangements with all the concerned parties for the final execution of the judgments.

“The learned Registrar of this Court makes necessary arrangements with all the concerned parties for the final execution of the judgments in a period not later than 4 weeks from now,” he ruled.

Dickens Kennedy Odongo, the chairperson of all LCV chairpersons in Lango welcomed the disposal with excitement. In October last year, Lango LCV chairpersons petitioned the Attorney General to have the injunction reviewed because it was denying the community a chance to utilize the natural resources in their area.

Trouble started in 1991 when the late Hon. Joseph William Okune applied and received a lease to use the rock for 5 years. However, no extension was made prompting the sub-county to take ownership of the rock and gave it to matrix Lands for quarrying the road works.

In 2012, Okune’s family sued the sub-county, Matrix Ltd, and two other individuals claiming the interests of the late Okune had moved to his wife as the administrator of his estate. In 2019, the court awarded 10 out of the 80 hectares of the land on which the rock sits to Sophina Okune and 70 hectares to the sub-county.

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