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Lamu leaders demand 25pc of planned oil pipeline profits

Lamu leaders meet other stakeholders in the
Lamu leaders meet other stakeholders in the Lokichar-Lamu pipeline talks on June 26. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU 

Disagreements marred a stakeholders’ meeting between Lamu leaders, locals and consultants of the proposed Lokichar to Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline Project (LLCOP) on Tuesday.

The initial phase consultation meeting was held at the Mwana Arafa Hotel in Lamu town. The project is a joint partnership between the government and the oil companies consortium of Tullow Oil Kenya, Africa Oil Turkana Ltd, and Total Oil. Lamu MCAs led, by Deputy Speaker Abdalla Baabad and Leader of Majority Yahya Ahmed, threatened to sabotage the project if the national government and other investors fail to meet locals' demands — including compensation for those to be affected by the venture.

The MCAs demanded that 20 per cent of the profit from the venture remains in Lamu to go towards county projects.

They also want five per cent of profit to go towards Lamu Community Trust Fund.

Mr Baabad also asked the government to ensure enough public participation forums for Lamu residents, failure to which they vowed to ensure the project doesn’t proceed. He accused the government of failure to honour initial agreements to ensure that Lamu residents are fully involved in various projects such as the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor venture which is being undertaken at Kililana in Lamu West.

“This should not be the first and last consultative meeting with locals. The government should ensure that our people are fully involved in the planning and implementation of the pipeline project.

“The project will directly affect our people and they should be well compensated. We also want 20 per cent of the revenue generated from the project to remain in Lamu to undertake county developments.

“We want five per cent cash to be set aside as Lamu Community Trust Fund,” said Mr Baabad.

The deputy speaker also demanded that five per cent of the national government's share be invested in development projects in Lamu County.

Mr Ahmed said a large percentage of the proposed pipeline lies within Lamu County, hence the need for the government to take their concerns seriously.

“You can’t start a project of a huge magnitude like this without seeking consent from the Lamu people.

“It’s only today that we are informed of the intended construction of a pipeline. Let our people be fully consulted and their grievances met.

“We don’t want a repeat of the LAPSSET project where our people had their land secretly incorporated into the acreage of LAPSSET without any proper consultations and compensation made.

“This time round we are alert. If you don’t come down and deal with us, we shall make your work very difficult and unbearable here,” said Mr Ahmed.

MCA James Komu termed the pipeline project a game-changer.

“The project will bring development to our region.

“Trade and industrialisation and the economy of this region will improve,” said Mr Komu.

The project spans six counties including Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Garissa and Lamu.

The pipeline is intended to transport crude oil from the field in Lokichar to Mombasa port for storage and onward export to the international market.

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