LAND INQUIRY | GULU
The commission of inquiry on land yesterday tasked the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to explain the circumstances under which a hostel and the Gulu University faculty of medicine were constructed on the Gulu Central Forest Reserve.
The commission, headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, expressed concern about the giveaway of part of the forest reserve, yet it has not yet been degazzetted.
The Commission also questioned why there were farming activities taking place in the wetland along Pece stream, which is also a gazzetted area within the forest reserve.
But Emmanuel Thomas Muteeba, the national forest Authority manager for Aswa River Range, said Gulu central forest reserve had 93 acres, but during the LRA insurgency, six acres were given for IDP settlement and six acres for SOS for a children’s orphanage.
Muteeba said they also gave 26 acres of land to Gulu University on a temporary basis. He said Gulu municipal council has an alternative 160 acres of land in Nwoya district for the faculty.
Byron Oguzu, the sector management officer of NFA, said the faculty of medicine and hostel are sitting on the forest reserve illegally.
The executive director of NEMA, Tom Okurut, however said they are carrying out environmental impact assessment in 14 central forest reserves in 14 municipalities throughout the country to ascertain those that can be degazzetted to pave way for urban development.