The Prime Minister of the Payira Cultural Institution George Ochol-Onono says they are concerned about the influx of illegal loggers and commercial charcoal producers who have cleared close to six square miles of natural tree cover in the parishes of Burlobo and Pungole.
The Payira Cultural Chiefdom in
Pader district is seeking the arrest and prosecution of persons implicated in the destruction of endangered tree species in Angagura
The Prime Minister of the Payira Cultural
Institution George Ochol-Onono says they are concerned about the influx of illegal loggers and commercial charcoal producers who have cleared close to six
square miles of natural tree cover in the parishes of Burlobo and Pungole.
In a letter seeking the intervention from
the different district stakeholders, Ochol-Onono identifies the worst affected
villages as Aringonyon, Burlobo and Pabit in Burlobo parish, Pungole and Onin
in Pungole parish. They have identified Doreen Ninsima, Muwada
Muwereza, John Bosco Oketayot, and Busiri Okwera, among others, as the persons leading the destruction of the environment in the area.
According to Ochol-Onono, the
named persons have felled the endangered shea nut tree and other indigenous species
locally identified as Opok, Ogali, Olwedo, Larwec, Cwa (tamarind), Odwong,
Oculub, Odugu and Otitimo that are valued and used for numerous traditional and
Ochol-Onono says the cultural
institution is worried that the majority of the indigenous tree species could face
extinction and subsequently erode the Acholi cultural norms since they are
medicinal, used as food and meant for traditional rituals like dispelling misfortunes, during traditional marriages, celebrating success reconciliatory occasions amongst others.
//Cue in; “omyero kong…
Cue out….cik omako gin.”//
The Uganda National
Forestry and Tree Planting Act prohibits the destruction of endangered
tree species and recognizes the
importance of the trees to the general population.
The cultural institution is also
seeking compensation of 2 million Shillings, two cows, two goats and a chicken
for each Shea nut tree and one million Shillings for each of the endangered
indigenous trees felled down by the perpetrators.
Ochol-Nono says the move is in
the enforcement of a bylaw instituted by the supreme Acholi Cultural Institution,
Ker Kwaro Acholi against cutting endangered tree species to stop the probable extinction of endangered tree species.
The Angagura Sub County Chairperson Stephen Fred Okello acknowledges the concerns from the cultural
institution saying some of the culprits have been arrested and two trucks they
use to transport their charcoal load out of the area also impounded.
Okello says the suspects however argued that they sought permission from the authorities of the
National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC & DB) that is
managing the Aswa Ranches to cut down trees on the areas belonging to them.
Okello, however, says officials of the
Aswa Ranches have always shifted the blame on the part of the community who are
alleged to be hiring out chunks of land to the charcoal dealers to clear off
trees and vegetation cover to commence intensive agriculture.