ARUA. A section of elders in Ayivu Division, Arua City were on Sunday urged to support Maracha County MP, Denis Lee Oguzu in his quest to transform Barifa forest into an Eco-tourism facility in the heart of Arua City.
The appeal was made by Mike Agondoa, the ‘Chief’ of the people of Ayivu while meeting a group of elders at his home in Mvara, a suburb of Arua town.
Agondoa’s appeal follows numerous protests by a section of politicians in Ayivu who are against the intended development in the central forest reserve (CFR).
This is after the National Forest Authority (NFA) gave the MP a 2-year license for Eco-tourism development and forest conservation activities in part of the 236 Hectares Barifa CFR.
As a result, some youths were recently mobilized to stop the ongoing works at the forest reserve claiming that it was fraudulently given to the MP.
But during the meeting with the elders, Agondoa warned against frustrating Oguzu’s effort, arguing that the MP genuinely acquired the license to develop the forest into an Eco-tourism facility.
“Oguzu genuinely won the bid to turn Barifa into an Eco-tourism and now how can you start mobilizing youths to disorganize such a person?” Agondoa asked.
“In 2017, NFA placed an advert in the print media inviting interested members of the public throughout the country to bid for either tree growing or eco-tourism development. The whole process was done in accordance with the law and people saw the adverts. Oguzu won the bid and he has started doing his work. He was selected out of many people who applied, so let us support him,” Agondoa added.
According to Agondoa, there is no need to fight Oguzu’s project because he is one of their sons.
On the rumours linking the project to Gen. Salim Saleh, Agondoa said the President’s younger brother has done a lot of good things for this country, and that even if he was behind the project, let people also support him.
“Gen. Salim Saleh is a straight forward senior officer who is willing to continue supporting the people of West Nile if they cooperate with him. The Government is trying to throw some dry meat to us, but instead of getting the meat to eat, we are running away from it now, what do we want?” Agondoa asked, attracting applause from the elders.
He advised that instead of fighting MP Oguzu and Gen. Salim Saleh, let his subjects work with them so as to develop Ayivu.
“Let us talk to the youth to avoid being used by politicians to frustrate developmental projects in the City. What they should do is to come to us and we ask for work from the people carrying out various projects, especially on Ayivu land. By doing so, the youth will transform their lives,” Agondoa stressed.
Earlier on, Robert Owiny, the NFA Range Manager West Nile confirmed that MP Oguzu fulfilled all the necessary requirements before getting the license from NFA for Eco-tourism development and forest conservation activities in Barifa CFR.
He noted that Oguzu was only offered 10 Hectares of Barifa CFR for the project.