Health Centre II faces demolition in 90 days

Monday June 14 2021
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Youth take HIV/Aids tests during a medical clinic camp at Abilinino Health Centre II in August 2019. PHOTO | TOBBIAS JOLLY OWINY

By Tobbias Jolly Owiny

A Grade I Magistrate at Patongo in Agago District has ordered the district and Lapono Sub-county authorities to vacate Abilinino Health Centre II premises within 90 days or the facility faces demolition.

Daily Monitor  has established that the land on which the health centre is erected has been under contention between Ms Sandrina Achen and the district local government for the past 10 years.

On September 6, 2016, the same court ruled that Ms Achen, the plaintiff in the case, was the lawful owner of the suit land at Abilnino, Kilibi Parish in Lapono Sub-county, while the district and sub-county trespassed on the land.

It also slapped a permanent injunction restraining the district and Sub-county or their staff from claiming the land.
Despite the injunction and an award of Shs10 million for the inconveniences, stress, pain and disturbance of Ms Achen’s lawful possession of the land that the district never paid up to date, the district has since been operating the health centre.

In a May 27 eviction notice and signed by Patongo Grade I magistrate Nicholas Aisu and served to the district and Lapono Sub-county authorities, the court indicated that the failure to vacate the land or remove the illegal structure in three months will lead to forceful demolition.

“Notice is hereby given of eviction and demolition of the development at Abilnino, Kilibi Parish, Lapono Sub-county, Agago District within 90 days from the day of this notice and in any case before August 27,” Mr Aisu ordered.
“If you don’t vacate the land or remove the illegal structure by the date stated above, eviction and demolition shall take place ...,’’ the notice further stated.

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During a community meeting held last week, Mr Harman Oryem, a resident, offered two acres of his land on which the facility can be relocated to, less than two kilometres from the current site.

“Not even a school is more important to us than this health facility, I am giving my land so that we can retain it,” he said.

Mr Alexander Okidi, the district councillor for Lapono Sub-county, said they have tasked Mr Oryem and his family to make the offer in writing to avoid future litigation.

Mr Erasmus Odida, the Abilnino Village council secretary, however, regrets the move by the court and failure by Ms Achen to okay an earlier proposal by the district to compensate her for the two-acre piece of land.

“Residents are in panic. Accessing the distant health facilities, especially during this lockdown has become a risk,” he said.
 
According to Mr Odida, Ms Achen was recently offered Shs20m on top of Shs38m that the district had initially proposed but she declined to admit to the deal.

Removing the health facility from the village now means that more than 12,000 residents will have no alternative public facility to access medical services.

Mr Okidi said the only nearest health facility neighbouring Abilnino Health Centre II is Lira-Kato Health Centre III that is 16km away in Lira-Kato Sub-county.

“Liquidating it [health facility] is very catastrophic, especially now that Malaria prevalence is high,” Mr Okidi said.

He noted that they have identified some dilapidated and abandoned blocks at Abilnino P/S as the new but temporary site to which the facility will be relocated.

“We are calling upon the district to act quickly to avoid endangering the lives of the population,” Mr Okidi said.

On Mondasy last week,  Agago chief administrative officer Fred Kalyesobula told Daily Monitor that the district was aware of the court order.   

“We are yet to conclude discussions on that matter. We are also engaging Ms Achen,”  Mr Kalyesobula said.
Mr Leonard Ojok, the district chairperson, said: “We are in negotiations up to August 10 and if she [Ms Achen] fails to agree with us, we shall vacate...,”  Mr Ojok said.
Efforts to reach Ms Achen for a comment were futile by press time.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com


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