MOYO. The local residents of Goopi East village in Metu sub county Moyo district have impounded a truck loaded with logs of protected tree species.
The truck with registration number UAQ 862C was ferrying 16 logs of Afzelia Africana tree species on Thursday. The district passed an ordinance to protect the tree which is seen as an endangered species.
The lorry is being packed at Moyo district headquarters awaiting a decision and advice from the authorities of how to proceed with the case.
The locals accuse the district political and technical leadership of profiteering from the illegal business at the expense of protecting the species and the environment.
Mr Cesar Chandiga, the chairperson Aulogo youth initiative and councilor Elenderea parish to Moyo town council alleged that a section of politicians and civil servants at the district are profiteering from the illegal business.
“I am aware that there are political leaders who are heavily involved in this logging business, there are others who are using their friends and relatives to do the business but for the purpose of investigations, I may not disclose the particular owner but I know who they are”, he said.
He continued “I want to appeal to everyone in this district, even if you have too much appetite for money, in the interest of protecting our environment and the future of the young ones, we must ensure that we all stand up and defend our environment because nobody else will do it for us” Chandiga argued.
According to him, many of those who deal in logging businesses are coming from Adjumani district after failing to achieve their goals there due to massive campaigns by locals to protect the environment. He accused Moyo district leaders of being greedy and selfish.
But Mr Martin Izaruku, the secretary for production and natural resources Moyo district council denied the allegations. He said local leaders up to village levels are to blame as they are the ones who know the locations of the protected tree species.
“For instance last week we got information from Logoba parish in Moyo Sub County where local community members were paid UGX30, 000 each for providing information linked to the identification of the wanted tree spices in forests for logging business”, he said.
He however challenged the local leaders not to be too hungry of natural resources which they should preserve for the future.
Last week, local community members of Onyire village, Logoba parish Moyo Sub County also impounded 10 logs of the protected species some of which were assumed to have lived for about 200years and marched the owner to Moyo central police station where he was detained though police later released him on bond.
Mr Patrick Drama, the district forestry officer (DFO) commended the locals for their vigilance saying the issue of enforcement is not one man’s concern but the entire community.
Drama said there are some people in the district who act as agents for the dealers who identify where the trees are located and sometimes also claim to be the owners.
He called for collaboration if protecting the trees rather that accusing one another if the remaining ones are to be protected.