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Local Leaders in Pader on the Spot for Fueling Destruction of Tree Species

Alfred Lam, the LCI Chairperson Pabit Village Alfred Lam says that some sub-county leaders illegally issue operating licenses for people in the charcoal business and trade.
A shea nut tree cut down for charcoal from Burlobo village in Aswa Ranch Project Area-Photo By Simon Wokorach

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Local leaders in Angagura Sub County, Pader District are on spot for fuelling environmental destruction of tree species in Aswa Ranch.  The species on the verge of extinction include Shea nut trees and Africana Afrizella that government banned cutting in 2018.

However, the local leaders in the area accuse others of fuelling the trade by accepting bribes from people in other parts of the country to settle in the area and cut those trees. 

Lazarus Obbo, the Angagura Sub County LCIII says that the Sub County has not been successful in the fight against environmental injustices in the area. 

Obbo blames the LCI chairpersons in the Sub County for allegedly taking a bribe of 200,000 Shillings from each individual arrested in illegal logging activities.   

Alfred Lam, the LCI Chairperson Pabit Village Alfred Lam says that some sub-county leaders illegally issue operating licenses for people in the charcoal business and trade. 

“We only get between 3,000 and 5,000 not as the Chairman is saying but we don’t know how much these people pay at the Sub County as revenue before they are granted permission” Lam added. 

He says that more than 25 Shea nut trees in his area were cut down for charcoal burning.

Hannington Mwaa, one of the elders in Acholi Bur village has described the level of tree cutting in Aswa Ranch as unprecedented. 

Northern Uganda has witnessed an increasing tree cutting and illegal logging just after the communities returned from the Internally Displaced People’s Camps.

The destruction into the region was far wide between 2011 and 2018 prompting presidential directive which banned cutting of some valuable tree spices that include Shea Nut and Africana Afrizella. 

However, Author Owor, the Executive Director of Centre for African Research alleged that two-third of the indigenous valuable tree species have recently been destroyed in Acholi Sub Region. 

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Willy Chowoo, the Coordinator for Our Trees We Need Answer, an environmental conservation pressure group in Acholi Sub Region identified loopholes in fighting environment injustices on land ownership.  

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However, the Acholi Regional Leaders have developed a charcoal bill two years ago aiming at regulating charcoal burning in the region in a bid to protect the environment from destruction.  

The bill was passed by the Kitgum District Local Government in December last year and was tabled before the Attorney for approval before it would be adopted by the Districts in the Region.    Robert Kugonza, the Executive Director of Friends with Environment for Development, a nongovernmental organization has commended the bill and hopes that it becomes an ordinance.

“We need to have such regulation if we must protect this environment and fight the drastic impact of climate change” Kugonza added.