By Mubiru Ivan

Bunyoro residents have run to parliament to claim their full compensation over the land on which the crude oil pipeline will pass.

While meeting the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga at parliament this week, residents under their umbrella body Mubende-Banyoro United Association said they were being compensated as Bibanja holders, yet they are the rightful land owners.

“The officials from the Ministry of Energy claim that they will compensate the residents as bibanja owners yet our forefathers were in Bugangaizi since time immemorial. We pray that we shall be compensated as the rightful owners that we are,” said John Mande, the Secretary General of the association.

He further added that land issues started as far back as the colonial times when the British wrongly demarcated the land and thisforcedthe natives to file a court case in the United Kingdom. Two years down the road, they are still waiting for the Attorney General’s guidance on this issue.

The petitioners were further concerned about the effects on the oil spillage on the surrounding environment, and the after effects 30years after the oil has been drained.
The Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development (Energy), Hon. Eng. Simon D’Ujanga, in response said that the Ministry had a provision to compensate the landowners as part of the plan.

“I would like to clarify that we do compensate both the bibanja land owners and the actual land owners although the compensation rates differ. We do have a challenge however, on who the rightful owners are. As a Ministry, we are ready to compensate, but who do we compensate?” he asked.