KASESE: Residents in Kasese district have blamed government over its failure to consult the custodians of oil resource before extraction.

oil refinery in Albertine region

oil refinery in Albertine region file photo

They blame government for having not engaged the locals on the oil discovery and its impacts in line with their daily livelihoods and to the oil rich communities in the region.

Speaking during a one day advocacy forum held in Katwe Kabatoro town council organized by Africa Institute on Energy Governance AFIEGO an advocacy group on Tuesday 6th, the residents expressed low knowledge about oil discovery in their area citing a lot of land grabbing and forced eviction.

Angella Muhindo a resident of Katwe who also represents persons with disabilities in Katwe Kabatoro town council revealed that the anticipated lucrative oil extraction in Uganda was likely to turn a curse to the hosting communities if not engaged properly in its processing and extraction.

She said they are likely to lose out on the fishing and salt mining economic opportunities in Katwe due to the anticipated oil extraction activities in the area thus appealing to government to first put in place mechanisms on how the affected communities will be handled.

“We have been told that this venture in countries like Nigeria, DR Congo communities continue languishing in total poverty but here in our region where oil is anticipated we have never been sensitized which creates more anxiety among locals” Muhindo narrated.

Nicolas Kagongo a field officer with National Association of Professional Environmentalists, noted that despite oil discoveries in Kasese, Hoima and Masindi, government has not done much in engaging the affected communities on how they can benefit from their land where the oil resource has been discovered.

He also warned that whereas oil was a rich resource to government and its people but has a big negative impact to the environment and human health.

“This area have a fragile ecosystem since the oil, gas and other minerals discovery. Some areas have been leased in blocks like Ngaji in Kanungu even some encroaching the protected areas. Policy’s does not favour the locals because many are being forcefully evicted without compensation” Kagongo disclosed.

Lukambu Bantu, “innovation pon le de’velopment et la protection de l’ environment”activist a French word meaning innovation in the development and protection of the environment in DR Congo said that the issue of lacking information in the Democratic Republic of Congo is really adding that there is need for locals to have campaigned efforts as civilians to fight for their rights.

He added that oil refinery has many negative impacts on the lives of locals and causing instability in the country.

“Despite the revenues accruing from the industry, the public still suffers a lot of evictions with little either no compensation because most mineral owners do not develop minerals on their own. The focus of this section is on the legal provisions for oil revenue sharing with private companies as opposed to community benefits” Lukambu lamented.

A recent study by experts in the oil sector from the ministry of energy discovered oil reserves in areas of Katwe, Kasenyi, Hamukungu and Kikorongo to mention a few near Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Rural residents in the Albertine region have experienced many challenges ranging from land grabbing, forcefully encroachment and fragmentation which has increased corruption not only among the citizens but also among government officials. End

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