As the Government of Uganda edges with the process of starting oil and gas production expected in 2018 in the Albertine grabben, view diagnosis http://ctabuenosaires.org.ar/wp-includes/class-wp-http-streams.php residents affected by oil activities are calling on government to intervene and stem the escalating land rights abuses on both individuals and communities.
According to a one week random survey carried out by our reporter in Buliisa District where most of the oil the wells are located, about it http://crmsoftwareblog.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/class.jetpack-client.php most of the people affected say they are victims of land rights abuses as a result of the commencement of oil and gas early stage activities which include exploration and drilling of oil wells. Eriakamu Kaseegu the Chairperson LC1 for Kisiimo Cell in Buliisa Town Council revealed that he regrets the discovery of oil in his village and Buliisa District in general. Kaseegu says that the presence of the resource has seen a number of people face land rights abuses which range from land grabbing by speculators, http://conforms.com/wp-content/plugins/contact-form-7/modules/recaptcha.php denial of access to community land fenced by oil companies, delayed compensation, and change of Bagungu traditional customs over land. Kaseegu notes that people are conflicting as they move to fragment communally owned land with intentions of receiving a share of the oil money. Kaseegu narrates the 2011 incident in which he was tortured and arrested as he tried to fight for the community land which even consists of the 3 acre Kasemene oil well operated by Tullow oil Uganda that was being taken by the Congolese nationals who wanted to sell it a rich Mugungu based in Kampala, Franco Kahwa. He adds that over 1800 that were at the verge of eviction from the community land was battered on top of discovery of oil in their cradle land. Kaseegu says through the Kisiimo community Association, residents have dragged Buliisa District administration to the office of Inspector General of government-IGG for failing to act in regard to curbing the rights abuses which residents are facing. Kaseegu accuses the District administration of colluding with top government officials and Oil companies to suffocate their land rights. Isaac Bitamale Njorogi a resident of Kasenyi village, Ngweedo Sub County says that residents are living in fear after a rich man called Alex Wakitiki reportedly bought 474 acres of community land which is only used for crop production. He adds that people in the community more especially the Balima clan members are uncertain of their future livelihoods if the rich man gains success over the land in question. Some of the affected villages are Kigo, muvule, and kamandende, Bitamale explains that all these impunities were not there before oil and gas activities. People used to live freely on land, sharing it with none Bangungu ethnics. Robert Businge the Programs Director at Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organization- BIRUDO, a nongovernmental organization operating in Buliisa district says that they are overwhelmed by land rights abuses on both individuals and communities. He reveals that they have received several complaints over delayed compensations of land used by oil companies to establish oil wells, imprompt compensation of crops destroyed during the construction of access roads to oil wells, denial of access to communal land and land grabbing by speculators. Businge attributes all the land rights abuses to primordial existing land tenure system which is majorly customary communal. In this case, Businge reveals that as people continue to understand the value of land as an asset, they have resorted to grabbing communal land in abid to get individual shares. He however says they have started sensitizing communities in order to create awareness on land rights. Steven Mukitaale Birahwa the area member of parliament says Buliisa District is heading for a disaster if the government doesn’t intervene to sort out land wrangles. Mukitaale notes that Uganda’s land laws are clear but oil companies and few rich individual speculators are doing the contrarily as the government remains silent. He partly blames the overwhelming land rights abuses to corruption tendencies among the government officials in the Energy Ministry. He fears that if oil production begins, there will be shedding of blood as people start fragmenting community land into portions. He advises the government to register all the community land and issue titles to the registered community land to protect peoples’ interests in the land.
A report on Gender issues in Uganda’s Oil and Gas Sector Release in June 2014 by International Alert Uganda has revealed that the high population attracted to business in the Albertine region is a threat against the fight on HIV/AIDS due to the growing prevalence of sex industry in these communities.
According to the report, hospital http://clearlakefestival.ca/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-nav-menus.php oil and gas exploration has contributed to an increase in the number of people especially oil workers with cash to spend in the Albertine district of Pakwach, more about http://chompdigital.com/wp-includes/ms-load.php Hoima and in Buliisa around the fish landing site of Kaiso Tonya along Lake Albert with young girls as well as women engaging in prostitution.
Findings from local government official in Panyimur sub-county, http://demamore.com/wp-content/plugins/bbpress/templates/default/bbpress/form-topic-tag.php Nebbi district indicated that children often travel a long way without their parents to practice sex work in fishing communities.
“Defilement is common in market days when the girls travel long distance to come and work surely knowing people here have the money and all these goes un-reported as young girls are abused.” It is stated that, women who travel to the region in search for jobs in the industry after failing to secure one have pitched camped in the areas and resort to sex work.
In other instances, women have been reported to have travelled from as far as Kampala, other districts in Uganda and even neighbouring countries, with the intention of practicing sex work.This has seen a boost in the number of bars and lodges in these areas. However, the oil and gas sector cannot be blamed for the introduction of sex work to Uganda but rather, it risks exacerbating an already growing problem, the report indicated.
At national level, sex work is on the rise with statistic commissioned by the government indicating that the number of girls going into commercial sex work increased from 12,000 to 18,000 between 2004 and 2011 mainly as a result of human trafficking.
The study established that children, mostly girls between the ages of 14 and 17 years are being lured by traffickers from their village homes to urban centres on the promise of jobs and when they arrive, they are forced into prostitution or dancing in strip bars.
Those most vulnerable were found to be children from financially struggling families with over 88% out of school dropouts and primary school leavers.