Lira community rejects power extension: It is to ‘seize our rock’

Lira LC5 Chairperson Alex Oremo Alot convincing his voters to accept REA power extension last week. Photo by OUNI JASPHER.

Misunderstanding on Wednesday engulfed Alunga village, Ngetta sub-county in Lira district between community, officials from Rural Electrification Agency [REA], Victoria Marble Granites Company Ltd and Lira district local government leaders led by Resident District Commissioner [RDC], Robert Abak following a move to extend power to the area.

Controversy arose after locals claim that power extension was meant to allow investors take over their land and their rock [Apila rock] with no clear mode of compensation given to them.

The locals also accused the Ngetta sub-county LC3 chairperson, George Okwee, the Ngetta sub-county chief, Jimmy Angole of conniving with one Joseph Kasambeko, one of the REA officials and that they signed an agreement to sell off Apila rock.

They further claim this was done in bad faith and to displace them from the area without the knowledge of the district authorities.

Meanwhile, Abak told community that the project is being done to ensure that local people fully benefit from the taxes they pay which are turned into service delivery.

According to Abak, the exercise [power extension] was a resolution from the head of department in their meeting.

He also says security intelligence report indicated that the community had planned to burn into ashes power extension poles to Ongica Health Centre III in Ngeta sub-county.

Also, the Chief Administration Officer [CAO] Lira, Mr. Mark Tivu asked the community to embrace power extension project to their area saying it’s a government project.

“Don’t stop power extension but give us only two weeks to talk to Victoria Marble Granites Company to legalize their process of acquiring our natural resource (rock),” CAO Tivu requested the angry community.

Patrick Malo who led engineering team from Rural Electrification Agency attributed the shallow behavior of the community to ignorance.

“Lango and Acholi tribes are very sensitive on projects demanding their land thinking it can be taken away,” Malo added.

The community living in 21 villages in Ngeta sub-county after hearing from CAO warned REA surveyors to begin their fresh survey, further warning them not to pass near Apila rock if they are to succeed.

The project has been halted till further notice.

Alex Oremo Alot and Ngetta sub-county LC3 chairperson George Okwee inspects electricity poles. Photo by JASPHER OUNI.

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