The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining has been called to address uncertainty over oil operations by Tullow Oil in South Lokichar Basin.
Governor Josphat Nanok has called on the Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry to convene a meeting to engage with local community to clear the air on reported suspension and resumption of oil exploration by British explorer Tullow, which he said were shrouded in mystery.
Last May, Tullow submitted notices of force majeure citing restrictions arising from the coronavirus as well as tax changes. Earlier this month, the company reversed this decision and claimed it was conducting a comprehensive review of the project including a consideration for alternatives to an eventual exit.
The Governor faulted the company for leaving the local community and the County Government in the dark in these key decisions.
“There are still issues pending on oil operations that have not been resolved. Tullow shut and later resumed operations without informing us yet we are key stakeholders,”
“The CS comes from Turkana but has yet to inform us and we are waiting for him to officially call for a meeting to enlighten the community,” the Governor said.
He also faulted the Ministry for failure to engage the County Government on key issues including on land acquisition, yet the County Government was the custodian of community land. He assured residents that as the elected Governor of the region, he will not tire in defending the rights of residents.
The Governor was speaking during the burial of Mzee Ngilimo Tapuka Merinyang, who was an uncle to the County First Lady Margaret Nanok. The late Mzee Tapuka passed on at the age of 96.
Governor Nanok said implementation of development projects will soon resume after the Senate passed the Third generation formula for division of revenue among counties thereby unlocking the impasse over sharing of Sh370 billion to counties.
With Turkana set to gain Sh2 billion from last year’s allocation, the Governor expressed relief that the initial proposal which would have seen the county lose Sh450 million, was shot down. He also commended Senate for ensuring no county’s allocation was reduced.
He revealed that the County Government has recruited 60 conservancy rangers who will be engaged in protection and conservation of wildlife and forestry; and announced that the rangers will be unveiled this coming week in Katilu.
The County boss has assured residents that he will not be fazed by politicians insulting him and insisted that he will not allow premature campaigns for 2022 to deter his administration’s service delivery.
He warned County staff engaged in politics that he was keen to defend his legacy and ensure his development track record was extended beyond his term as Governor.
On BBI, the Governor said leaders from the region will only debate based on benefit of proposed constitution change to the community and cautioned those demanding the region support the proposal before the report was released.
He said that he was still active in politics and was pushing for unity of elected leaders to ensure Turkana was involved in forming the next Government of Kenya and had a stake in the nation’s leadership.
MPs James Lomenen (Turkana South) and Ali Lokiru (Turkana East) also addressed mourners with Lokiru calling for respect for the office of the Governor elected by the people. He said the Governor had mandate by the Turkana electorate to run the County Government and cannot be threatened for making decisions.
MCAs present were Rafael Loperito (Lokichar), David Erukudi (Lobokat) and Alice Nakawa (Nominated).
County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Philip Aemun led senior County Government staff present. They included Chief Officers Ariko Namoit (Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources) and Joseph Ekalale (Office of the Governor) among others.