By Everest Mukiibi
The National Environment Management Authority-NEMA and Police have stopped the ongoing construction of gabions on the shorelines of Lake Victoria at Kasenyi landing site.
In a February 21, 2022 statement, NEMA says that the decision was made during the routine inspection by the Environment Police Protection Unit at Kasenyi landing site in Katabi Town Council, Wakiso district.
The unit carried out an operation over the weekend and discovered that an unidentified developer did not have the prerequisite approval to erect the gabions, contrary to provisions of the National Environment Act, No.5 2019.
The statement says investigations to identify the developer are ongoing, adding that seven suspects who were arrested at the site will be taken to court for prosecution once investigations are complete.
Tony Acidria, the Deputy spokesperson of NEMA, says the suspects were labourers found at the site.
According to Simon Okoshi, the Acting Commandant Environment Police Protection Unit, investigations so far indicate that the developments are on land that belongs to Dr. Moses Apiliga, the former Minister of Supplies in the second Obote government of 1980-1985.
He bought land, covering 15 acres at the Kasenyi landing site in 1986. However, half of this land was submerged two years ago following the increased water levels. During investigations, Apiliga told police officers that he is not the one who has been erecting gabions on the lake shores.
“Apiliga claims an unknown person is carrying out the illegal activity with the intention of grabbing his land,” Okoshi said,adding that, ” But we advised him to file a complaint about criminal trespass because for us we are concerned about an unapproved activity in a protected zone.”
Apiliga couldn’t be reached for comment by the time of filing this story.
NEMA says “degradation of lakeshores by unregulated activities such as this can have deleterious impacts on the lake including flooding, strong wave activity that can cause property damage, destruction of plant-animal habitats, and loss of breeding grounds for aquatic species.”
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