Local leaders may block oil exploration over insecurity
BY KIBEI LOKAALE
IN LODWAR, TURKANA CENTRAL
Senator Munyes says it is ironical that the national government had prioritised security of oil wells at the expense of the locals
Following a raid at Kotaruk area in Loima sub-county, five Turkana legislators and the county senator have condemned the national government for failing to protect the lives of Turkana people.The attackers had ambushed the village and abducted five people, injuring five others and killing one woman as they made away with more than 1000 livestock. Speaking in Kanamkemer ward in Turkana central sub-county recently during a burial ceremony of Captain George Lotaba Angelei, the first Turkana to serve as a senior officer in Kenya army, the legislators, led by senator John Munyes, issued a seven-day ultimatum to the national government to assure Turkana residents living along Pokot-Turkana border of security. “If the government is neglecting us and thinking of oil the most, then we shall be forced to go to the roads for a massive demonstration and make sure that no action will be taking place in the oil exploration sites,” Munyes warned. He complained that despite having spoken with the top security organs in the country about insecurity in the area, nothing had been done. Munyes said it was ironical that the national government had prioritised security of the oil wells at the expense of the locals, prompting many Kenya police reservists (KPR) to migrate to Tullow Oil for employment and leaving the residents without security.
The same sentiments were echoed by Turkana South legislator James Lomenen, said that they had decided as Turkana members of parliament to stop all oil explorations
in his constituency until the locals were satisfied that they were safe.
On his part, Turkana west MP Daniel Epuyo Nanok said that already, they had agreed as Turkana leaders to halt all oil explorations in the county until the government stepped in to resolve the problems that affected the community. “Oil explorations must stop. From there, we shall see which area the government is going to give priority.
Epuyo Nanok – Turkana west MP
Oil explorations must stop. From there, we shall see which area the government is going to give priority. Protect the people and then go for resources
Protect the people and then go for resources. It will be meaningless (for the government) to run for [oil] and forget about the people who were there even before the discovery of the resources,” he exclaimed. Deputy Governor Peter Lokoel condemned the national government for not devolving security to the county government, and added that day in day out, Turkana women and children continued to suffer due to frequent killings by raiders and loss of animals. Oil is being explored in Turkana County since 2010 by Tullow Oil Kenya. The company has so far discovered nine wells, of which eight have proved to be commercially viable.
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