By: Walukhu Simon Peter, STEP FM/NECJOGHA, MBALE
The Mbale aquaculture centre which has been dormant for 15 years has now become a menace to its neighbourhood with residents accusing its bushy surroundings of harbouring criminals.
“A day hardly passes without us arresting a criminal hiding in the bush surroundings of this centre,” Wogwale George the chairperson lc1 of Kinyoli Zone B Namanyonyi says. Wogwale is supported by Samson Were of Kinyoli Zone A who says that they spend sleepless nights because of thugs who break into their houses and sometimes when they try to peruse them their valuables are recovered from the bush at the centre.
The centre was established by the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries as Mbale Aquaculture Centre but has now been renamed Nkoma regional research centre.
In 2004 the government of Uganda contracted a company to rehabilitate the centre and over 2.5 billion shilling were injected into this facility to construct stores, dryers and processors but due to shoddy works the construction company was stopped before completion and since then no work had kicked off.
However, the District Fisheries Officer Paul Wabusiino says now the ministry in partnership with the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARO) has set aside funds to complete the rehabilitation by the end of this financial year is to become a fish fry production facility in the region and to act as a training centre for the community and staff.
“I believe the centre will now be of great help to the community, staff and fish farmers in the region since it will act as a training centre,” Wabusiino said.
On accusations that the bushy surrounding of the centre harbours criminals, Wabusiino instead blamed the neighbouring community for vandalizing the facility fence that gave access to thugs as a hiding place. He called upon the community members to cooperate with the facility officers to ensure security.