Oil & gas

Oil in Buliisa: Natives Decry Land Rights Abuses


cialis 40mg http://deltadiner.com/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/attach_to_post/templates/display_tab_type.php geneva;”>According to a one week random survey carried out by our reporter in Buliisa District where most of the oil the wells are located, http://chagoscantina.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-site-icon.php most of the people affected say they are victims of land rights abuses as a result of the commencement of oil and gas early stage activities which include exploration and drilling of oil wells.

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Eriakamu Kaseegu the Chairperson LC1 for Kisiimo Cell in Buliisa Town Council revealed that he regrets the discovery of oil in his village and Buliisa District in general.

Kaseegu says that the presence of the resource has seen a number of people face land rights abuses which range from land grabbing by speculators, denial of access to community land fenced by oil companies, delayed compensation, and change of Bagungu traditional customs over land.

Kaseegu notes that people are conflicting as they move to fragment communally owned land with intentions of receiving a share of the oil money.

Kaseegu narrates the 2011 incident in which he was tortured and arrested as he tried to fight for the community land which even consists of the 3 acre Kasemene oil well operated by Tullow oil Uganda that was being taken by the Congolese nationals who wanted to sell it a rich Mugungu based in Kampala, Franco Kahwa.

He adds that over 1800 that were at the verge of eviction from the community land was battered on top of discovery of oil in their cradle land.

Kaseegu says through the Kisiimo community Association, residents have dragged Buliisa District administration to the office of Inspector General of government-IGG for failing to act in regard to curbing the rights abuses which residents are facing.

Kaseegu accuses the District administration of colluding with top government officials and Oil companies to suffocate their land rights.

Isaac Bitamale Njorogi a resident of Kasenyi village, Ngweedo Sub County says that residents are living in fear after a rich man called Alex Wakitiki reportedly bought 474 acres of community land which is only used for crop production.

He adds that people in the community more especially the Balima clan members are uncertain of their future livelihoods if the rich man gains success over the land in question.

Some of the affected villages are Kigo, muvule, and kamandende, Bitamale explains that all these impunities were not there before oil and gas activities. People used to live freely on land, sharing it with none Bangungu ethnics.

Robert Businge the Programs Director at Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organization- BIRUDO, a nongovernmental organization operating in Buliisa district says that they are overwhelmed by land rights abuses on both individuals and communities.

He reveals that they have received several complaints over delayed compensations of land used by oil companies to establish oil wells, imprompt compensation of crops destroyed during the construction of access roads to oil wells, denial of access to communal land and land grabbing by speculators.

Businge attributes all the land rights abuses to primordial existing land tenure system which is majorly customary communal. In this case, Businge reveals that as people continue to understand the value of land as an asset, they have resorted to grabbing communal land in abid to get individual shares.

He however says they have started sensitizing communities in order to create awareness on land rights.

Steven Mukitaale Birahwa the area member of parliament says Buliisa District is heading for a disaster if the government doesn’t intervene to sort out land wrangles. Mukitaale notes that Uganda’s land laws are clear but oil companies and few rich individual speculators are doing the contrarily as the government remains silent.

He partly blames the overwhelming land rights abuses to corruption tendencies among the government officials in the Energy Ministry. He fears that if oil production begins, there will be shedding of blood as people start fragmenting community land into portions.

He advises the government to register all the community land and issue titles to the registered community land to protect peoples’ interests in the land.


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