Oil pipeline: Displaced persons receive houses

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa (in jacket), hands over a house key to Ms Margaret Nansikombi, a Project Affected Person in Nkoma Village, Lwengo District on February 10, 2023. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The 43 houses, which are on the planned route of the pipeline, were handed over to the beneficiaries by the Energy minister Ruth Nankabirwa.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) has handed over 43 houses, the first of 178 houses for the people who are going to be physically displaced by the construction of the crude oil pipeline.

The 43 houses, which are on the planned route of the pipeline to be constructed in Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Sembabule, Rakai, Kyotera, and Lwengo districts, were handed over to the beneficiaries in Nkoma Village, Lwengo District on Friday during a function presided over by the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa.

Mr John Bosco Abenomugisha, the Deputy Executive Director of EACOP, described the houses as modern.

“The constructed houses are modern with two toilet stances, a standard kitchen, two solar panels, and a tank of 10,000 litres, which was not the case before,” Mr Abenomugisha said.

Mr Martin Triffen, the Managing Director of EACOP Limited, noted that the resettlement housing construction is both a 100 percent national content effort and also a representation of EACOP’s commitment to executing the project in a responsible manner, in line with the laws and regulations of Uganda, the Equator Principle IV, and the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards. He said the recipients are part of the physically affected project persons who chose houses over monetary compensation.

Mr Triffen was dismayed that 25 of the project affected persons who had expressed interest in getting housing compensation after initially asking for monetary compensation had not been considered for a switch in compensation packages.

He explained that the requests were not considered because the International Finance Corporation performance standards advise companies to avoid involuntary resettlement wherever possible to avoid impacts on displaced people through mitigation measures such as unfair compensation.

Minister Nankabirwa used the function to lash out at groups of people both in Uganda and the diaspora, who she said had tried to use issues around the environment and compensation to scuttle the crude oil pipeline project.

“This is a clear indicator of pre-empting all lies from the European Union and some opposition groups who were ill-talking the project in a bid to retard Uganda into a dependent marketplace for Europe. The constructed houses are modern compared to affected ones,” Ms Nankabirwa said.

She commended EACOP for fulfilling the commitments it made under the project and also lauded the people of Lwengo District for their continued support for a project that she said will improve the livelihoods of the citizenry and contribute to the social and economic development of Uganda.

Ms Rose Namate, one of the recipients, applauded EACOP for fulfilling the commitment it made to provide project affected persons with modern housing facilities.

“I am grateful for this house because it’s far better than what was affected and it has more facilities like the tank, kitchen, and modern toilets which we didn’t have before,” she said.

“Even the contractors who have been building houses have been employing our children and buying food stuff and other things from us as the community. We are privileged to have this project,” Ms Margret Nansikombi, another recipient, said.  

Mr Huddu Hussein, the Lwengo Resident District Commissioner, hailed EACOP for boosting the local community through its operations.