- Last year, police blocked a meeting on refugees at White Castle
- The conference expected to take place in Moyo district mid this month shall be held in one of the nine West Nile districts
- West Nile districts have for decades been a safe haven for South Sudan and Congolese refugees
- Those who supplied their goods are not happy in the manner in which they are being treated in terms of non-payment
By Our Reporter
Arua. West Nile refugees hosting districts have continued to demand for answers over continued poor roads, corruption in the settlement camps.
At the onset of the influx of South Sudanese refugees, it was hoped that the roads linking to the settlement camps would be improved. The services like roads, water, schools and health centers have been over stretched with the increasing number of refugees.
But now almost two years down, some of the roads have remained in sorry state with few of them worked on.
The West Nile Parliamentary Forum, local government association comprising LCV and 3 chairpersons and social-cultural leaders have among others singled out environmental degradation, exploitation of the locals in the refugee hosting economy and poor road as key challenges that need immediate attention.
Obongi County MP, Hassan Kaps speaking in Arua
Mr Kaps Hassan Fungaroo, the MP for Obongi constituency and member of the parliamentary forum says locals who supplied goods like building materials, provided services like labour to contractors and business communities who secured loans to provide goods and services are at the risk of losing their mortgages.
In a letter to the chairperson West Nile Parliamentary Forum, Mr Bernard Atiku a copy of which West Nile Press Online obtained, Fungaroo states that owing to the above challenges, the question of cost-benefit of hosting the refugees remains unanswered, requiring a way forward.
He argues that government attention should be drawn to the status of roads, business and contracts, status of employment for locals and mitigation for the negative effects of the refugee settlement on the environment.
“When the people of Obongi County approached UNHCR for help with their machines, UNHCR asked for a written permission from UNRA before they can do something on this road and this permission has not been given. Instead UNRA wants UNHCR to give her the money,” the letter reads.
Ayivu County MP, Mr Bernard Atiku. Photo by Felix
He says in their mobilization framework and action plan, ministries of trade and industry, works and transport, disaster preparedness and refugees, the office of the speaker of parliament shall be tasked in a five days’ conference to offer satisfactory answers to the challenges raised.
Meanwhile the LCV chairperson of Moyo and Yumbe, Mr Williams Anyama and Mr Taban Yasin have welcomed the conference saying it will empower the leaders of the region to soberly present to government and development partners, challenges facing them as a result of hosting the refugees from south Sudan.
The actions of the police attracted wider condemnation from the leaders across the region, who vowed to have their issues addressed by the government at all cost.