LIRA: Locals vow to resist titling Aler hill

LIRA, October 3, 2023 – The local communities of Aler Parish in Ogur Sub-county in Lira district have vowed they will not allow Lira District Local Government to title Aler hill where they carry out some quarrying and small-scale agriculture.

They said during the parish council meeting held at Acan-akwo village days ago. The hill comprises eight villages that constitute Aler Parish. They are Acanakwo, Te-Arie, Aputi, Aler, Opimo, Otada, Adagawea, and Perac.

According to Geoffrey Awal, the Aler parish chairperson, authorities want to fence off the hill without the consent of residents. The Lira district authorities, it is claimed, want to lease the hill to a road construction company so that they earn some revenue from quarrying.

Currently, some part of the hill is being used by Gulsan Holding Construction Company Ltd to quarry raw materials for the ongoing road constructions across Lango Sub-region.

Awal assured the community that those intending to survey the hill for titling would not succeed.

“We heard that Lira District Local Government want to fence this hill so that the hill is titled, I heard they are being pressured by the Ministry of Works, but they will not even try to come here to do their survey,” Awal said.

Awal further said that the area around the hill covers over 70 hectares of land that belong to farmers and if the district fences and titles the hill, then the community is bound to suffer from hunger.

“Some people were born here and have nowhere to go and carry out farming if the district evicts them,” Awal said.

Victor Anam a resident of Aler parish said he was born in the area and that residents will unite to ensure the hill is not titled.

Samuel Opio, the Te-Arie LCI chairperson together with Denis Olal who is also the Aputi LCI chairperson said no one will be allowed to title the hill.

“This hill doesn’t belong to them except to us, no one will ever survey the hill or the surrounding pieces of land for a title,” they said.

Meanwhile, Betty Opio one of the members in Aler parish is worried that she will not be able to meet the needs of her family if the hill where she does some quarrying and farming is taken over by Lira District Local Government.

“I don’t know how I will meet the needs of my children if this hill is fenced because I used do quarrying to get school fees, pay medical bills, and feed them,” Opio said, adding that she gets low yields from farming due to climate change.

Richard Cox Max Okello Orik, the Lira district chairperson who denied the claims that he wanted to fence off the hill said they will soon organise a security meeting to address the issues that the local community is concerned about.

“We are going to sit down with the leadership of Aler parish together with the security team and Members of Parliament from Lira District to address the issue of Aler Hill because if the fencing is to be done, then it will need the involvement of National Environment Management Authority,” Okello said.

Aler hill is commonly known as Arie hill because it is in the form of the cross that was being used by the community in various ways such as dancing arena during dry spell for rainfall, quarrying point to raise money, grazing among others.

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