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State to give way forward on Turkana early oil today

Trey Tumwa @PeopleDailyKe

The government will today make a statement on the resumption of operations in Turkana county even as expectations of residents soar.

This comes amid concerted efforts to ensure ease of operations for British Explorer Tullow Oil with Deputy President William Ruto assuring the people of Turkana that the government will address challenges hindering exploitation of oil resources in the area.

“I want to assure you that we are addressing issues pertaining to oil. Twenty per cent of the proceeds will come to Turkana county, five per cent will benefit the Turkana community and the rest will be used to improve roads,” he said.

“Do not worry with the issue of oil, the government is working with leaders to solve problems associated with oil exploration.”

Ruto was speaking during the launch of the construction of the Lodwar-Lokitang junction even as a section of residents in Turkana South and East demanded assurance that they will get five per cent in their banks.

The residents who spoke to People Daily said they want the money in their accounts similar as cash transfer commonly known as “Lopetuny”, claiming local leaders were making decisions without consulting the community as far as oil issues are concerned. They said they were not even aware the community’s share was reduced to five per cent from 10 per cent. 

Moses Lotir, a resident of Keikei Lokeiyo, said that the 20 per cent allocation to the county government is enough for development and the five per cent should be sent directly to their bank accounts.

“They should send that money to our ATM cards,” he said.

Coming a month since Tullow temporarily stopped operations in South Lokichar oil basin, various interventions have been put in place to ensure smooth operations.

Part of the recent agreement signed by the government and Tullow oil included establishing a two-tiered system framework that will provide communities living in Turkana County and the British Oil explorer with avenues for addressing any concerns.

Issues to do with transportation of the oil through the early oil programme and a memorandum of understanding are said to have been thrashed by both local leaders and residents.

The British explorer stopped work at the oil fields and trucking operations after protests by the local community disrupted the transport scheme. The protests were to demand for the deployment of more security forces in the area which has long been plagued by banditry and cattle rustling.

Experts recently cautioned residents against overdependence on the new sector warning that it could lead to neglect of other sectors. The oil sector should complement the others to help manage expectations.

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