By Musa Sabir

Officials in Arua Municipal Council have revealed that the ongoing countrywide lock down has affected the process of degazzeting Barifa forest to pave way for development.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Environment requested the municipality to secure an alternative land and carryout Environmental Impact Assessment before the degazzetment.

The Municipal Deputy Town Clerk, Mr. Cornelius Jobile in an interview explains that, the process to carryout Environment Impact Assessment as required by the ministry affected by the ongoing countrywide lock down.

We had actually embarked on the process of doing EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) for both lands unfortunately, as we started the process the COVID-19 came-up and because of the lock down we could not proceed far basically work has halted because the ministry not fully operational. 

The municipality is yet to complete payment for the alternative land acquired in Anyavu Parish, Logiri Sub County in Arua District.

Sources reveal that, the 265 hectares of land acquired was valued at shillings 150 million, and a balance of about 50 million shillings now remains to be cleared to the family.

However, Arua Municipal Deputy Mayor Mrs. Kalsum Abdu Fadimula reveals that, plans to clear the balance by the municipality are underway.

Kalsum confirmed that, part of the money was paid to the family and the balance will be cleared after the lock down.

She says, an IPF of shillings 45 million is planned, also to cater for the consultation meetings with Sub County Officials and the local community as required by the ministry.

Meanwhile, a representative from the family that sold this alternative land to Arua Municipal Council while speaking to Radio Pacis in a telephone interview, says, the family is willing to handover the land.

I think the money (part), we were just left with the interest of about 50 million shillings accumulated as result of delay to clear the balance to make official handover of this land to them (municipality).

The council with funding support from JOADA Capital Infrastructure Partners produced a master plan for the redevelopment of Barifa Forest Reserve as an ‘Eco-City’. End