UGANDA, Gulu | Real Muloodi News | The future potential of Fort Patiko, in Northern Gulu City, is at risk due to ongoing land encroachment.
Fort Patiko, also known as Baker’s Fort, was a military fort built by Samuel Baker in Patiko in 1872.
However, communities in Anyadwe and Omoti, among others, have invaded the surrounding land by constructing houses, cultivating crops, and rearing animals.
Four acres of land have already been claimed by residents, who have even resorted to cutting down indigenous trees.
Okello Ronald Onen, the site attendant and guide, expressed the challenges they face in monitoring the entire area with only two staff members, himself and a security guard.
To combat the encroachment, they have decided to collaborate with the Acholi Paramount Chief, Rwot David Onen Achana II, and the local council to raise awareness among the community about the historical and cultural significance of Fort Patiko.
Fort Patiko was constructed in 1872 by Sir Samuel Baker to combat the slave trade. The fort served as a haven for the Acholi people, protecting against attacks from the Arabs. Sir Samuel Baker also planted Borassus palms and other trees and cultivated land for sustenance.
During a recent visit to the site as part of the ExploreNorth campaign by the Ministry of Tourism, Mr Onen mentioned that Fort Patiko receives approximately 200 visitors each month, with a majority being foreigners and school children.
The entrance fees for visitors are as follows: locals pay USh5,000, school children pay USh2,000, East African citizens pay USh10,000, and foreigners pay USh15,000.
In the fiscal year 2023/2024, it is hoped that a portion of the allocated USh220.3 billion for the tourism sector will be utilised to address the issues surrounding Fort Patiko.
These efforts are crucial to ensure the preservation and restoration of this significant historical site, which has the potential to be a major foreign exchange earner for the country and showcase its rich heritage.
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