Consult residents before extracting oil, says Biwot

Former powerful minister Nicholas Biwott (L) and Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen at fundraising in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet county in August 20, 2016. Photo/STEPHEN RUTTO
Former powerful minister Nicholas Biwott (L) and Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen at fundraising in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet county in August 20, 2016. Photo/STEPHEN RUTTO

Former minister Nicholas Biwott has urged the government to consult residents before exploring for oil in Turkana and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.

He said failure to involve residents in exploration and extraction may lead to conflicts.

“We have seen civil wars in Nigeria and Congo because of natural resources. We would not want Kenya to go the same route,” Biwott said.

He said the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta militant group in Nigeria arose due to government failure to improve the lives of communities through oil proceeds.

Speaking on Friday in Soi South, Elgeyo Marakwet, during the launch of a Keiyo community foundation, Kokwetab Keiyo, Biwott said the government should have a clear road map on how communities will benefit from oil.

He urged Keiyo professionals to engage the government and Tullow Oil following the discovery of oil in Keiyo South in March.

“This is not a political organisation. It is a group that brings together elders and professionals to champion the interests of our community,” Biwott said.

Tullow Oil announced the discovery of oil, with significant oil generation in Chepkulet 1 well in Block 12A of the Kerio Valley in Keiyo South on March 16. It is currently exploring oil in Marakwet and Baringo.

The firm has also announced the drilling of crude oil in Ngamia 1, Turkana county from 2017.

Biwott was accompanied by Elgeyo Marakwet speaker Albert Kochei and several MCAs.