93 families affected by oil fields stranded

 

Three years down the road, 93 households in Buseruka,

Hoima district are still waiting for the land Government promised to relocate them after theirs was taken for oil and gas exploration and production.

The 93 who are stranded on the oil fields land are those families out of 1, 221 who opted for land instead of being given money for compensation.

"People who opted for land relocation are suffering and they feel neglected,

" Winfred Ngabiirwe, the executive director of

 

 

 

Global Rights Alert, said.

Speaking at the release of a report titled: "Acquisition of Land for the oil refinery: Tracking Progress in resettling project persons who opted for land compensation," Ngabiirwe pointed out that the affected families are in dire need of shelter and have nowhere to plant crops since the rain season has begun.

 

A copy of Global Rights Alert about 93 familes who are strounded in the oil field in Hoima. Photo/ Francis Emorut

"The lack of clarity over the status of land which government insists it purchased has left the affected families with anxiety as when they would be relocated," she said.

Since government commenced the petroleum exploration and production in 2012 the affected families are yet to receive the Promised land.

The findings of the study indicate that 1,945 out of the 2,615 project affected persons who opted for cash have been paid while those who opted for land are yet to be resettled.
 
Ngabwiire noted that the families have been affected in a manner that they can't access clean and safe water since the boreholes have broken down and there is acute shortage of food as they can't grow crops.

The researchers recommended that government should expedite the process of availing land to the affected families.

Bashir Hangi, the communication officer of the ministry of energy and mineral development when contacted, rapped the authors of the report saying it was shallow as it lacked depth analysis.  

"It lacks facts and what's written in the report is not what's on the ground," Hanji said.

He allayed fears that government had abandoned the affected families saying the latter has purchased 533.59 acres of land in Kyakaboga.

"They (affected families) have not been abandoned, only that government can't do things faster like private sector does," he said.

He said government officials held a meeting with the affected families and district leaders last week and chatted a way forward for model houses to be built for the families.

He explained that Topographic survey has already been done on the land the physical plan of how houses would look like has already been drawn.

He said the government is finalizing the process of procurement so as the contractor starts work. 

A total of 2473 families were affected following government's plan to evict the people in Buseruka land for oil refinery.

Government mooted two ways of how to compensate the affected people by allowing the occupants of the land to either opt for land or to be given money.

Those who opted for land are the ones still stranded  at the site of oil refinery while those who chose money have been paid.

The land covers 29 square kilometres.

Government  has earmarked $14m (about Shs 36.8bn) to complete the acquisition of land to relocate and/or pay the remaining 48 per cent of the affected persons. 

By this time in 2016, according to government projections, Uganda will have produced its first barrel of oil. An estimated 3.5 million barrels are buried in the Albertine graben. 

Estimates indicate that at peak production of 200,000 barrels a day, the country could earn up to $3.3 billion (about Shs 8.7 trillion) annually.

Building an oil refinery would enable Uganda to export processed oil, bitumen, aviation fuel and other by-products to the East African region and beyond. 

The land on which the refinery is to be built is individually owned by indigenous people in Hoima. Article 237 of the 1995 Constitution protects the land rights of locals in the oil region.

 

This article has been republished from New Vision website