The residents of Ngwedo Sub County in Buliisa affected by the Central Processing Facility (Tilenga Project) have cut off the operations of Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Oil Uganda in their land protesting the delayed compensation and relocation from government.
The project affected persons (PAPs) had put 5th December as the cutoff date of the operations until the government compensates and relocates them; according to the Chairperson of the Resettlement Planning Committee, Mr. Jealous Mugisha Mulimba.
Mr. Mulindwa who is one of the affected people says that in a meeting held on 26th October this year with government officials, oil companies and affected persons, the government Chief valuer promised to give them feedback on when to be compensated in two weeks’ time but 6 weeks down the road they have waited in vain.
He expresses concern that since May when the oil companies stopped the residents from carrying out any business on the land acquired, they have been grappling with lack of food and source of livelihood thinking that the government would quicken the process of compensation and relocation.
“We put posters that nobody should enter into our land until we are compensated and we have put the cutoff date as 5th December until we are compensated,” said Mr. Mulindwa in a phone interview.
The PAPs also want to be paid 21 million shillings per acre instead of 2.1 m that the government intends to pay per acre of land.
Talking to Green Radio, the Buliisa district chairman, Mr. Simon Agaba Kinene confirmed the reports saying the PAPs are appealing the government to expedite the process of compensation. He called on the government to look into the matter as soon as possible blaming the delay to the chief government valuer.
However, an official from government who preferred anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the media blamed the district leaders for failing to manage the high expectations and advise the residents on the compensation rates. He said they have exaggerated the rates from 2.1 m to 21 million yet they have failed to explain why they increased the rates; a reason the compensation consultant contracted by Total E&P has delayed trying to investigate where the problem is.
By the time of filing this story, the Public Relations Officer for Total E&P, Mr. Chris Ocowun, said he was not aware of the matter.
The project that is affecting 811 people requires 310 hectares of land where mined oil will be cleaned of impurities before it is taken for refining in Buseruka oil refinery in Hoima district.
Total E&P Uganda, Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Ltd and the government have finished assessing properties for the PAPs in eleven villages which include; Kasenyi, Kisomere, Uduk II, Kibambura, Mvule, Ajigo, Kirama, Kigwera north East, Kigwera south East and Bikongoro.