The parliamentary committee on natural resources has ordered an inquest into the continued Bugoma forest reserve give away to individuals and companies who have gone ahead to title the land.
This comes after the visiting committee on Tuesday while on a fact finding mission was shocked to see large chunks of Bugoma natural forest being cleared for sugar cane growing in areas of Kisaru and Rwempunu in Kyangwali and Kabwoya sub counties in Kikuube district. Led by Andrew Kiiza Kaluya, the vice chairperson of the committee, they insisted that those behind the land give away must be investigated to save the forest from destruction.
Kaluya said that the committee will do whatever it takes to ensure natural forests especially Bugoma is saved.
At Kisaaru, in Muhangaizima block of Bugoma forest reserve, Mustafa Zaidi, a prominent businessman and timber dealer in Hoima, had cleared over 10 hectares of the 900 hectares which according to the land title given to him by Hoima district land board, belongs to him.
In Rwempunu, Francis Atugonza, the former Hoima municipality mayor, was also stopped from clearing part of Bugoma forest where he had already opened 10 acres for cultivation.
Kaluya says that the available forests such as Bugoma must be protected to mitigate the challenges of environmental changes in the country as we prepare to produce oil.
Recently Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has been on the spot for giving out 22 square miles of land to Hoima Sugar Company for sugar cane growing which NFA maintains is part of Bugoma forest reserve.
The Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister Andrew Byakutaga in a phone interview refuted claims that the Kingdom was behind the recent give away of part of Bugoma central forest reserve to individuals.
Tom Okello the executive director NFA says that they wanted the members of parliament to come on site and appreciate the challenges the country is facing in protecting forests.
Okello says that NFA now has embarked on ensuring all forests that were encroached on are restored for the good of the country.
The MPs expressed concern that Ethiopia is suffering because they failed to protect their forests and are now paying the price.
Bugoma central forest reserve is a tropical high forest located in Kisindi Sector, Kikuube district and some small portion in Hoima district with an area of 41,144 hectares that covers the total boundary distance of 177 km.