By Ojok David
The community of Angagura Sub County they have realized that the former MP for Aruu County, Hon Odonga Otto have connived with Aswa Hydro Power Dam, and National Animal Genetic Resources Centre (NAGRC)to survey Aswa Ranch, Acholi Ranch and Acholi Ranches.
Lazarus Kidega Obb in a community meeting organized at Beyo community meeting a month ago, says the former area Member of Parliament, now the current MP for Aruu South, Hon Odonga Otto together with Pader District Land Officer.
Angagura Sub County area Land Committee knew it had surveyed the ranches without involving the neighboring community.
PADER-UGANDA: Lazarus Kidega Obbo disclosed that over 2,500 residents of six villages in Angagura Sub County from Pader District are facing the dilemma of land evictions by Aswa hydro upper dam power project amidst allegations of compensation scam.
Obbo disclosed that the attempt to get the land document from both Angagura Sub County and Pader District Land Office has been futile.
“We have failed to get the information about the land was surveyed. Nobody is committed to give us” Obbo urged.
The affected villages among others include Bur Lobo with 716 people, Bira 380, Lubala 556, Koyo 360, Pungole 450 Pabit with 325 respectively with the overall population of 2587 people.
Nicolas Amone, a 52 year old father of 14 children from Pungole Parish in Anga-gura Sub County says his 250 hectares of land which includes 2 hectares of pine tree had been taken away.
Sunday Okeny, another resident of the area, was told to leave his land measuring 80 hectares to pave way for the power project without being compensated.
However, Lazarus Kidega Obbo, the LCIII for Anga-gura Sub County says the land title was fraudulently acquired and the Sub County is seeking legal redress.
He revealed that their preliminary survey indicates that over 1,500 hectors of the community lands have been encroached upon by the government.
“We have started identifying the law firm for this process which will be concluded by next week” Oboo told Gulu Fm Radio on Monday in an interview.
Julius Nyeko, the Senior Land Management Officer for Pader District says the District has written to the Ministry of Land Housing and Urban Development seeking guidance of the ownership of the land in question.
He faulted the Ministry of Land for bypassing the District at the time of survey in 2015 that led to the acquisition of the land title.
He however revealed that the project area includes Aswa Ranch which originally measured 105,400 hectors of land while Acholi Ranch in the upper power project measured 40 square kilometers of land.
“We still don’t know why the government decided to convert this lease offer to free hold even when we know the lease has expired and the land could have reverted to us” Nyeko added.
He further added that the District has demanded the government for reopening of the boundary to see how much land has been taken away by the ongoing project which he says has yet remained a mystery.
However, Denis Obboo, the Public Relation Officer in the Ministry of Land says the land in question legally belongs to the government.
“The title for this land was issued in 2015 but we are surprised that the complaint is just coming now and the best we can do is to advise them to go to court if they feel cheated in the process” Obbo responded.
Jumah Magambo, one of the officials with National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank also claims the entity being the legal occupant of the land.
“We don’t settle the matter of land in the media and those who think we flouted the procedures in acquiring this land can formally challenge us” Jumah said.