EACOP has left us poor, residents say

Some of the project affected persons speaking to the media last Tuesday.  Photo/file

What you need to know:

Ms Gloria Sebikari, the Corporate Affairs Manager of Petroleum Authority of Uganda, acknowledges some delays in the compensation process. She, however, said no one has been evicted or denied access to their land.

The project-affected persons (PAPs) of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) work in the Albertine region say they have not benefited from the project.

Most of the PAPs this publication spoke to in districts of Hoima and Buliisa say they gave away their property below the market price to pave the way for the project’s implementation, hoping to tap into the benefits that come with it in vain.

Mr Nelson Tibemanya, a resident of Kigaaga Parish, Kabaale Sub-county in Hoima, in a recent interview said in 2018 when Total Energies and the government came for sensitisation and advocacy for the pipeline, they were told that they would be the first beneficiaries of the project.

“In 2019, they carried out valuation and assessment of our property. However, when the assessment forms were returned in 2021, we saw that most of our properties were undervalued, while others were left out,” Mr Tibemanya said.

He said: “For example, they valued land at Shs6 million per hectare and in Hoima District, no one can sell to you land at that price. Land here costs between Shs20 million to Shs25 million an hectare. We are stranded and landless.”

Mr Tibemanya said his eucalyptus trees were valued as building poles at Shs15,000 and yet they are now of timber-size electric poles that cost Shs80,000 each.

 Mr William Bamuturaki from Buliisa District said delay in compensation has also left them poor.

“It is now four years and some people haven’t been compensated and yet they stopped us from using our affected land to farm crops for food, so how do they want us to survive?” he asked.

Mr Geofrey Byakagaba, a resident of Kasenyi Village in Buliisa District, said some people accepted the little money after alleged intimidation.

 “They were telling us that if you don’t sign for your compensation, you won’t get your money, the money will be taken to court. You can’t win a case against the government,” he said.

Ms Diana Nabiruma, a communications officer at Africa Institute for Energy Governance (Afiego), said when Uganda discovered oil, communities were promised a better life.

“The ordinary man and woman in the communities are not going to benefit from the oil to a great deal, because if you take my land, intimidate me, are you leaving me better off?” Ms Nabiruma asked.

Ms Gloria Sebikari, the Corporate Affairs Manager of Petroleum Authority of Uganda, acknowledges some delays in the compensation process, however, no PAP has been evicted or stopped from using their land.

 Ms Sebikari said the compensation values are determined in line with the district compensation matrix, which is updated annually.

 “This matrix is developed by the district land board, and approved by the Chief Government Valuer, based on known and agreed on principles to ensure fairness and equity to all parties. Compensation rates for crops and structures are determined by the District Land Boards while land rates are determined based on market value,” she said.

 According to Ms Sebikari, all districts have such matrices, and, therefore, the projects don’t determine compensation values.

She added: “All these are based on prevailing market rates for the financial year in question.  In addition, all PAPs are given a 30 percent disturbance allowance, and a 15 percent per year additional uplift, over and above the approved values.”

 All PAPs are engaged before they sign on their assessment forms to confirm that what has been captured is indeed what has been taken stock of by the valuers and assessors. This is done in the presence of local leaders, district leaders, and government representatives, including PAU staff. All PAPs are encouraged to register their grievances with the project teams to ensure resolutions are met.

 “A PAP is given two options: cash or house replacement. A PAP, who chooses a house cannot be asked to vacate before the new house is completed. The new homes come furnished with a water tank, solar system, a kitchen, and an outside toilet,” she said.


East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (Eacop) is a 1,443m crude oil export pipeline that will run from Hoima in western Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania.

 There are 3,648 project-affected persons in Uganda, of which only 206 are physically affected while 179 opted for their houses to be rebuilt for them. Also, some 2,866 project-affected persons have signed compensation agreements, of which 2,468 have so far received their cash compensations for either land or crops.