Oil facility affected persons in Buliisa District vow to continue defying government over low compensation

About 811 residents of Kasinyi village in the oil rich Buliisa district in Western Uganda, affected by the crude oil Central Processing Facility (CPF), have vowed not to surrender their land unless Government increases compensation for their property to at least 6 million shillings (about 1500 dollars) per acre.

The government of Uganda has consistently insisted on paying an amount not beyond 2.1 million shillings (about 580 dollars) per acre.

In a meeting with Government ministers this month, the affected persons vehemently rejected government’s proposal to increase the compensation per acre to 3.5 million shillings (about 970 dollars).

At the meeting, that sat at Buliisa District local government headquarters and attended by over 300 Project Affected Persons (PAPs), the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Betty Amongi issued a directive for CPF work to start mid-January despite protests from the affected persons.

Mr. Jealous Mugisa, the Chairperson PAPs- Resettlement planning committee believes Minister Amongi’s directive is not the answer to their pleas.

“We feel this command is militaristic not democratic. She says surveying must start immediately whether you agree with the 3.5 million or not.  I feel everything should be done in accordance with 1995 Ugandan Constitution”, Mr. Mugisa asserted while talking to Community Green radio.

We won't relent: One of the CPF affected persons in the oil rich Buliisa District Western Uganda. Residents are vowing never to leave until government pays what they term as 'appropriate compensation' for their property.

Article 26 of the Ugandan constitution which is again under threat, is explicit about the process of lawful land acquisition and provides for fair and adequate compensation to the relevant parties to ensure that citizens’ rights to property are not violated in the process.

“I cannot give my piece of land at 3.5 million shillings. My land is too big for a compensation of that amount.  I’m frustrated that am robed of my fertile land but I can’t also easily surrender the crops and other property unless they increase to 7 million”, vowed Ms. Teopista Atugonza another PAP of Kasinyi village.

NAPE has been working with in Buliisa district to empower them to fight or demand for their rights through Sustainability school programmes.

Late last year, community members of Ngwedo sub-county in Buliisa where the Central Processing Facility (CPF) is to be established were protesting against Government directive to Total E &P to start work.

Compiled by Dorcus Drijaru