Rev. Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP addressing Acholi leaders in Gulu on the need to protect African land owners from unscrupulous multi-national commercial farmers.
“It is going to be a bloody war because there is no increase in land size, but people are increasing in numbers. Give yourself twenty more years; there will be no more land. 68% of Liberia’s agricultural land is already in the hands of multi-national companies. Some of these companies use such leased land to bury nuclear toxic wastes”- Rev. Fr Okure.
GULU-UGANDA: The Executive Director of Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), Reverend Father Aniedi Okure, OP, has predicted that there will be bloody World War over African land and its natural resources because multi-national companies are looking for land in Africa to bury “nuclear toxic wastes” and for planting Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds.
“It is going to be a bloody war because there is no increase in land size, but people are increasing in numbers. Give yourself twenty more years; there will be no more land. 68% of Liberia’s agricultural land is already in the hands of multi-national companies. Some of these companies use such leased land to bury nuclear toxic wastes”, says Fr. Okure.
The Washington DC (USA) based cleric, made the remarks on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, from Gulu town during Land Conference in Acholi sub-region under the theme: “Breaking New Horizons in Land Management and Administration in Acholi”. The conference was organized by the Ker Kwaro Acholi (KKA), the cultural institution of the Acholi while AFJN sponsored/funded it through a local Non-Governmental Organization, Caritas.
“A further disturbing trend is dumping of toxic waste in Africa. This is not fiction. In 2006 Trafigura, a Dutch company dumped toxic waste in the suburb of Abidjan (Ivory Cost). As a result, dozens have died, women are having miscarriages and the community is struck with all kinds of skin diseases never known to them. Toxic dumping is happening across Africa with known cases in Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Togo, and Somalia. Nigeria has had her share. We recall a businessman who collaborated with an Italian company to dump 8,000 tons of toxic waste in Koko, Delta State for $100 a month, resulting in skin burns”, says Father Okure.
AFJN is registered in Washington DC (USA) to monitor US policy towards Africa, improve the image of true Africa in the world and promote the wellbeing of Africans.
“African continent is rich and has fertile land with lots of Natural Resources but gripped with poverty, land grabbing and land conflicts. We should not mortgage the future for short term gains. We should raise the alarm now because this is something serious and if we don’t work hard, then we are finished. Let us make sure that the blessing that God has given us is not wasted. Nothing is too big for us to solve. We have to create a better future for generations to come”, he says.
Fr. Okure warned Africans against leasing out large chunks of their fertile land for large scale commercial farming by multi-national companies on long term because such companies are not interested in fighting hunger and unemployment in Africa, but to feed their nationals with GMO foods where machines replace human labor.
“With the rising world population, demand for food and “oil” (clean energy) and land becomes very important. They will come to you (African countries) with enticing proposals promising better future and creating employment but that is far from being true. What it takes one hundred youths to execute, technology uses only three people. Moreover what is they plant are not consumed by the locals. They are cash crops for exports. As long as Africa remains the “Center of Raw Materials”, then it will not catch up with the rest of the world” he warns.
“We have to be very careful in trading with these multi-national companies in “commercializing land”. When we take a large area and reduce it to a single crop, then we reduce it to genocide on crops-diversity. Some of these multinational companies bring in very colonizing GMO seeds which makes the land sterile in the long run I am not saying that we shouldn’t do business with them, but we need to trade very carefully”, he counsels.
Acholi King, Rwot David Onen-Acana II told the conference that there are some Acholi people who get excited with the yields of some of the maize planted in the farms of these multi-national companies without knowing what kind of fertilizers these companies use. He said what is being discussed today should have been discussed much earlier since the cultural institution had already come out with principles of land use in Acholi way back in 2008.
“Some of you thought this was a matter for the cultural institution only. You have just realized now that this was actually a matter for all of us. Some of you are excited about the yields of maize crops in their farms, but you don’t know what kind of fertilizers they use here. We don’t know what they bury on your land”, says Rwot Acana.