Community threatens oil firm over job exclusion

Drilling activity 330 December 2013, Nairobi – Residents of Garseqoftu location in Kenya’s Wajir county are threatening to stop oil exploration in the area over alleged exclusion in jobs, tenders and hire of vehicles.

The locals accused Africa Oil Kenya, AOK, which is involved in oil exploration, of colluding with the Wajir county government to sideline them.

In various protest letters endorsed by more than 50 community elders, the locals say they have no faith in the county government.

They called on the national government to intervene and resolve the issue before it degenerates into violence.

“We are not against the exploration because if oil is discovered, it will benefit our county and the country in general. But we will not agree to be sidelined,” one letter read.

Community spokesman Abdikadir Mohammed said AOK has not honoured an agreement that 80 per cent of all procured services will go to the residents of Garseqoftu.

Mohammed said the community is being locked out by the county government for allegedly not voting for it during the March 4 general election.

“We don’t understand how the community can be sidelined yet it is the one that will suffer in case there are environmental and health implications for the explorations,” he said.

“The community holds the key to the explorations. If it says no because of being sidelined, AOK can as well pack and leave to prevent violence.”

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