ADJUMANI. The Adjumani district chairman Mr James Leku has called upon the LCIII chairpersons of Pakele and Ukusijoni sub counties to step up surveillance and vigilance following a new wave of massive logging.

Leku said his office had received intelligence information that some daring loggers had invaded Maanyalwa village in Pakele town council.

Chairman Leku who was briefing journalists in his office yesterday said a report filed by a monitoring team revealed that endangered Afzelia Africana tree species in Maanyalwa village have been depleted with no single tree standing.

He warned of tough actions against LCI chairpersons who encourage logging in their villages because the activity is not only illegal but depriving the people of Adjumani of the precious Afzelia Africana tree species.

The district forest officer Mr Francis Ojja said the greedy loggers invaded Maanyalwa village after they were recently repulsed from Ibibiaworo village in Pakele Sub County.

Ojja said the only sub counties where the Afzelia Africana trees are still standing are Ukusijoni and Pachara.

He said the rate of depletion of the Afzelia Africana tree species has reached 80% and called for concerted efforts from all friends of the environment to jealously guard the tree species in the two sub counties.

Environmentalists criticise approach

Mr William Amanzuru, the coordinator for the local environmental pressure group friends of Zoka heavily criticised the local leaders including the district chairman.

“The environmental situation in Adjumani is so alarming and I must say the local government has lost in its own fight because the chairman is the head of the local government but he has never been seen to take a serious responsibility to fight environmental degradation”,  Amanzuru said.

He instead accused the district leaders including the chief administrative officer (CAO) of illegally auctioning the confiscated logs which in turn aids the practice further.

“It’s illegal to auction the logs by the district because there is a letter dated 16th December 2017 in which the minister banned the transportation and sale of logs in Uganda and the letter is still valid”, Amanzuru complained.

He said due to the illegal auction of the confiscated logs and charcoal, the perpetrators have now mastered the art of manipulating the illegal trade even if their loot were captured.

 “You see logs are not a public commodity, it’s a commodity for some few who know the benefit, if it’s put in the market, you and I will not buy because we don’t know the use but the loggers will come back and buy because they know the use”

“In my opinion we need to pile the logs at some strategic place so that it reminds us and the future generations of the wrong we have done, It will show the younger generation how beautiful Adjumani was and how depredated it has become”, he said.