- The central forest reserves have been heavily encroached on by humans where there have been serious cultivation, pastoralism and settlement have taken place there
- Some of the natural trees have been cut for timbers, poles for construction and charcoal burning because the people here look at the natural resource as a source of income
By Metedio Iceta
MOYO- There is growing panic among the locals in Metu Sub County who are accused by the NFA for encroaching on the reserve forest.
NFA officials say they want to protect the forest from depletion if the people are allowed to continue staying in the forest.
The forest reserve has been faced with massive agricultural activities on the land and this has led to degradation of tree species.
The locals of affected villages of Pageribe, Erepi Radumu East and Erepi Radumu West Village are now calling for the intervention of the district authority over the matter.
Inyani Titus, one of the affected farmers said that the angry farmers have condemned the action of NFA saying they cannot leave the land since it is their ancestral homes.
“The actions of NFA staff is based on government policy matter to which we are not totally opposed. But we are the bonafide occupants of the land since time immemorial and how could we just be evicted by the government without following other modalities such as relocation and resettlement of victims?”
Agnes Asio, a resident of Pageribe village said the officials of National Forrest Authority trapped them in the garden while cultivating in the process herself and children were harassed.
“One of the officers forcefully grabbed the hoe from my hands telling me to stop digging. My grandparents lived here for decades before this land was even gazette.”
Jackson Envi, the Supervisor NFA Moyo zonal area dismissed the allegations of harassing women and children but assured the eviction is going to be implemented as planed through community sensitization.
“That eviction is going to take place whatever the case may be. We have been telling people that we are coming to plant trees in this central forest reserve in order to reclaim the lost vegetation but many of the tree species are no longer there. But we are going to have community sensitization after that we shall evict them.”
Sam Asusi, the councilor for Metu Sub County said about several people have so far been evicted from the forest in the past year.
“Many of the people who settled in Aliodranisi, Goboro and Lewa villages in Yumbe district are the victims of being evicted from Metu Sub-county. There is need for fairness from NFA Officials while conducting eviction of the communities and we understand there are areas gazetted by NFA and other not gazetted which are not for human settlement,” Asusi said.