By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
ARUA. A 94-year-old woman in Ewanyapa cell, Komite Ward in Ayivu Division, Arua City has asked the authorities of Arua Catholic Diocese founded St. Kizito Orphanage primary school (PS) to consider vacating her land lest she drags them to court.
Lucia Candiru raised the concern on Monday after the officials of the school decided to fence her inside the school premises. She also accused the school authorities of grabbing the remaining piece of land she has been surviving on.
Candiru whose children returned to their father due to lack of space after the establishment of St. Kizito Orphanage PS is currently living in a grass thatched house just in front of the school. Candiru said the school was built years after she had already settled on her ancestral land.
“My grandfather, Liki gave land to Italian Priests to establish a Church and that is where Ediofe Cathedral Church is sitting. Part of the land is where Late Bishop Fredrick Drandua built an Orphanage and a health center in my neighborhood, but this land wasn’t part of it,” she narrated.
Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki, the Arua Catholic Diocese Bishop
“When my grandfather died, my father, Siro Oronjia inherited this land and we grew up here. The Avocado tree you see here and the mango tree at the school gate there were planted by me. This school was later built here forcefully. There was a time they wanted to evict me from here, but the government officials intervened and that is why they left me,” Candiru said.
She said after her foiled eviction, the authorities of the school resorted to grabbing the little piece of land she has been surviving on.
“You can see, they have planted oranges and other fruits in the piece of land I used to cultivate. I used to grow vegetables, cassava and potatoes on this land, but now I’m helpless. The school doesn’t help me when I fall sick, instead, they continue to frustrate me so that I should die quickly for them to grab all this land,” Candiru added.
“I know I am now old, but what I want is for the school to either leave my less than an acre piece of land for survival or vacate the entire place lest I will take them to court,” Candiru threatened.
But when contacted on phone, Kennedy Atibuni, the St. Kizito Orphanage PS head teacher said the land on which the old woman (Candiru) is sitting on belongs to the school.
“Where you met her is the school premises. How did you start interacting with her?” Atibuni asked.
“I want to tell you openly that the procedure you followed is a wrong one because first of all, the gate you used for entering is a school gate. So, if there was any person to clear you should have been the head teacher who is the spokesperson of the school management committee. That is one; two, the school is sitting on the land of the Catholic Diocese of Arua, so if there is any inquiry you want to make, I refer you to the office of the Bishop of Arua Catholic Church,” Atibuni directed before ending the call.
But when contacted on phone, Rt. Rev. Sabino Ocan Odoki, the Bishop of Arua Catholic Diocese said the issue had not yet reached his attention.
He, however, observed that if Candiru says she is on her ancestral land, then the school should find an alternative land to resettle her.
“Yeah, the school can handle that one, they can resettle her somewhere. The head teacher should find a way of resettling that woman outside the school. The school can handle that. The matter has not reached me but that is what I can advise,” Odoki said.