The clan leaders accuse New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church, which belongs to Severino Lukoya, the father of Alice Lakwena, the former head of the Holy Spirit Movement of erecting his church on one and half acre of the clan land.
Severino Lukoya Leading Prayers during the Cruusade in Kitgum on Saturday
Paban clan members in Gulu district are
accusing the New Jerusalem Tabernacle Church of illegally occupying part of their
120 acre piece of land. The contested land is found in Paban in Kot-Omolo
Sub Ward Acut Omer Parish in Paibona Sub County Gulu district.
The clan leaders accuse New Jerusalem
Tabernacle Church, which belongs to Severino Lukoya, the father of Alice
Lakwena, the former head of the Holy Spirit Movement of erecting his church on
one and half acre of the clan land.
Justine Oloya, the Paban clan told URN in an interview that Lukoya connived
with a section of the clan members to construct his church on clan land without
authorisation. He says that Lukoya approached the clan leaders last year
seeking permission to own the land but his request was rejected.
He however, says despite the rejection of Lukoya’s
request he went ahead with construction on the clan land early this year. Denis
Oola, another clan member says they are seeking assistance from Paibona Sub
County leadership to evict the church from their land.
Lukoya has denied allegations of encroaching on clan land,
saying the land was offered to him by the family of John Lam, a member of the
clan. Lam says the contested land belongs to him, adding that he offered it to Lukoya
because he is a member of his congregation.
Richard Watmon, the Paibiona Sub County Interim LC III
chairperson confirmed the land dispute, saying his office is already handling
the matter. He however, says Lukoya didn’t seek permission from the Sub County
authority while entering the area. Watmon advises that Lukoya to acquire the land using lawful
means or risk facing the wrath of the community.
Residents of Acut Omer Parish have repeatedly asked Lokoya to
vacate their area arguing that his church practices are a nuisance and a
reminder of the bad past. In May, residents burnt Lokoya’s worship material.
They also tried to eject him from the area in September this year.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc