Government gives encroachers 21 days to leave wetland
What you need to know:
- Namiiro is one of the few remaining wetlands in Entebbe. Other wetlands that have been heavily degraded include; Mabamba, Nambigirwa, Lutembe, and Nagadya.
- People started encroaching on Namiiro Wetland in 2006. The wetland measures about 1,000 hectares, but almost a quarter of it has been encroached on by at least 5,000 people.
Government through the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has given a 21-day ultimatum to people encroaching on Namiiro Wetland in Lugonjo-Nakiwogo Village, Entebbe Municipality to voluntarily vacate or be evicted.
In a June 8 environmental restoration order seen by this newspaper, the Nema executive director, Dr Tom Okurut, indicated that the Authority had found out that 5,000 households had continuously degraded Namiiro Wetland by digging drainage channels , depositing murram and erecting illegal structures.
“You are, therefore, ordered to comply with the following environmental protection improvement orders; stop immediately any further soil/ murrum dumping and any other form of degradation, vacate the wetland with immediate effect, demolish all the structures you have erected in the wetland and restore them as near as possible to its original state,” Dr Okurut said, adding: “You are given 21 days from the date of receipt of this restoration order within which to comply.”
Mr Nicholas Magara, the coordinator of wetlands in the central region under the Ministry of Water and Environment, said all affected residents have been served with the restoration order.
“This [environmental restoration order] is the document served after going through all other processes for due diligence and to make sure that there’s enough information for encroachers before evicting them. So, this is the final document that is warning them to vacate so that the wetland can be restored,” Mr Magara said.
He said households with land titles will be compensated. “If anyone occupied before the enactment of the Nema Act in 1995 and possesses a land title, that person will be compensated. But if he occupied after the Nema Act, then no compensation and all the land titles will be cancelled,” Mr Magara said.
Namiiro is one of the few remaining wetlands in Entebbe. Other wetlands that have been heavily degraded include; Mabamba, Nambigirwa, Lutembe, and Nagadya.
People started encroaching on Namiiro Wetland in 2006. The wetland measures about 1,000 hectares, but almost a quarter of it has been encroached on by at least 5,000 people.
Mr Jamada Tabula, a resident, however, said they will not allow ministry officials to demolish their houses without any compensation.