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Villagers block oil company from exploration

24 April 2013, 12:36

Turkana - Residents in North Eastern Province have blocked Tullow Oil Company from moving to new exploration grounds until the company compensates locals for the land it currently occupies.

This follows a meeting between more than 300 leaders and the elites of the local pastoralist communities and senior officials of the British firm in Lokori in Turkana East District earlier this week.

Turkana East MP Nicholas Nixon, Kochodin-Lokori, ward member of the County Assembly, Benedict Lokamar, and former Kochodin Councilor James Ekalale are among leaders who have resisted the decision by Tullow Oil to move to the new site in Amosing to drill another well after the completion of Ngamia 1 and Twiga wells that showed substantive oil reserves last year.

Tullow Oil had also revealed plans to drill three more wells this year with work expected to kick off ‘soon.’

The pastoralists have resisted such moves fearing Tullow Oil’s activities will displace more families and want compensation effected before they embark on oil exploration work in the region.

“It is about give and take. We demand Tullow to assure as of security, employment and scholarships for our children. We are also requesting them to compensate displaced pastoralists in the area before they embark on oil drilling,” Benedict Lokamar, a local member of County Assembly, said.

Lonyang’a Mulele, an elder, said the community was worried it would lose land adding the grazing land had been previously interfered with.

“We are also getting displaced from our ancestral land without being compensated. Tullow Oil has given us a raw deal that is why we want them to re assure us,” he said.

Tullow Oil Company is meanwhile going ahead with preparations to explore new sites.

“Three more rigs are expected to arrive to the oil mapped sites to start oil drilling. We need to move to another location,” Fila Elema, Tullow Oil Stakeholder Engagement Officer, said.

Elema said the company was considering employing locals, open up water projects between Lokwamosing and Lopii area and award scholarships to children from the oil sites.

 - CAJ News



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