Monday, July 27th, 2020 | By

Several residents affected by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in Hoima, and Kikuube districts have lost patience and returned to the land reserved for the oil pipeline to cultivate crops.

The decision stems from the delayed compensation of the affected families and lack of activity on the land.

Samuel Tugumisirize, the Butimba village chairperson in Kikuube district says the affected people chose to return to their land and cultivate maize, beans, tomatoes, sweet and Irish potatoes since they are uncertain when the pipeline activities will resume.

Tugumisirize says it is unacceptable to keep the land and houses idle.

“Many people have been asking me on whether they should use their land and I gave them a go ahead because the land is idle. However, those whose unfinished buildings were affected are stuck because they were assured that they would only compensate only what was valuated during mapping and valuation exercise,” Tugumisirize explains.

Kirungi Kadri, the Hoima District Chairperson says the suspension of the oil pipeline activities have since triggered mixed feelings among the affected residents.

He reveals that government hasn’t engaged the affected communities on the next course of action, adding that the PAPs have to keep track of the pipeline process through regular sensitization, which is not done.

Total Uganda contracted New Plan Limited to carry out the mapping and valuation exercise.

However, government suspended the oil pipeline project in September 2019 following the collapse of Tullow-Total deal, which slowed the project. In 2020, government entered a joint venture partnership and resumed the project. The new deal was expected to be signed early this year.

However, the Energy and Mineral Developments Minister, Mary Goretti Kitutu Kimono says the matter was left to the president, saying she has nothing much to comment on the matter at the moment.

The Ugandan section of the pipeline is about 296km and passes through 10 districts, 25 sub-counties and 172 villages, of the total length of 1,443km from the proposed pump station in Hoima to Chongleani terminal near Tanga port on the Indian Ocean.