Conservationists collect signatures to petition Museveni over Bugoma forest

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Residents of Kabwoya Sub-county in Kikuube District convene in a meeting with environmental campaigners at Nyakabaale Village to collect signatures for a petition to President Museveni against the destruction of Bugoma forest (Photo: Gad Asaba)

Environmental conservationists are soliciting for at least 20,000 signatures to petition President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni against the destruction of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Kikuube District.

The campaign led by Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIGO) started the campaign at Nyakabaale Village in Kabwoya Sub-county, Kikuube District with a call to all people in Bunyoro to support the cause so as to save Bugoma forest from the axe of Hoima Sugar.

Addressing the residents bordering the forest, the AFIEGO Field Officer and head of signature collection campaign, Sandra Asinguza, mobilised women to join the band wagon saying the depletion and destruction of Bugoma forest affects every gender harmfully without discrimination.

She said though the environmentalists engaged Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom officials and parliamentarians to save the forest, destruction of the natural wood continues everyday amidst shock from environment friendly people.

Ms Asinguza said such an occurrence has coerced the conservationists to resort to collecting signatures that will be used to petition President Museveni to intervene and stop the cutting of the forest.

Audio: Asinguza on Bugoma forest (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Speaking at the same gathering, Mr Benon Tusingwire, the Director of Navigators of Development Association (NAVODA) – a non government organisation challenged the candle bearers in the government of Uganda to guard the country’s forest against destruction especially at this time when Uganda is preparing herself to transit to oil production in the Albertine region.

He cited toxic gas emission from the refinery to be constructed at Kabaale in Hoima district as one of the dangers that will cost a lot on humans and biodiversity in the country if President Museveni does not stop the destruction of Bugoma forest that would be used as a carbon sink once oil refining begins in few years to come.

Audio: Tusingwire on Bugoma forest (Runyankole/Rukiga)

Ms Lamula Asasira, a resident of Rwembaaho village challenged women to join her in the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign and always attend meetings aimed to protect the forest warning that the aftermath of forest destruction will be felt without discrimination.

Audio: Asasira on Bugoma forest (Runyankole/Rukiga)

Moved by the rate at which the forest is being destroyed, the Kaseeta parish councillor, Fabiano Imaniraguha, called for a fundraising campaign aimed at refunding Hoima Sugar so the company stops destroying the forest for a better natural setting.

The politician wondered how government security agents were deployed to the forest to watch over its destruction yet they would on the contrary be at the forefront of saving it from obliteration.

Mr Hassan Mugyenyi, a resident of Nyairongo village warned of severe effects if government does not become cognizant with the effects of forest destruction in its high level leaping strides in pursuit of industrialisation.

He reminded stakeholders of the current climate changes experienced in developed countries as a result of destroying forests in favour of industrialisation.

Mr Mugyenyi urged the people of Bunyoro to team up and join the campaign against the destruction of Bugoma forest warning that the future lies at stake once oil production begins.

Audio: Mugyenyi on Bugoma forest (Runyankole/Rukiga)

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