EXCLUSIVE: Bunyoro Minister drags Govt to Court over oil spill, wants UGX7Bn compensation

Bunyoro Kitara Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, John Apollo Rwamparo

Bunyoro Kitara Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, John Apollo Rwamparo

Hoima – – Bunyoro Kitara Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, John Apollo Rwamparo, has dragged Government to court for sanctioning a geothermal drilling company leading to tampering of an eco-tourist site in Kibiro springs, Hoima District.

Through his lawyers, Twikirize and Company advocates, Owek. Rwamparo served the Attorney General with a notice to sue government for tampering with Kibiro springs, a tourist site he and the community allegedly fought hard to have it listed by UNESCO.

The proprietor of Kibiro Salt Company revealed that the project destroyed the ecosystem and frustrated the elevation of the springs to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation-UNESCO heritage site since tentative induction in 1997.

The hot springs, located 35-kilometres North of Hoima town in Kigorobya sub-county, forms a water stream that meanders into Lake Albert.

Owek. Rwamparo, in his notice to sue, discloses that the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, under the Directorate of Geological survey, okayed a drilling contract to M/s Royal Techno Industries to drill a shallow temperature gradient well at Kibiro Hot Springs Located in Kibiro, Kigorobya Sub-County.

‘’To that, on the afternoon of March 29, 2020, the said contractor (M/s Royal Techno Industries Limited), in the course of conducting its drilling activities caused an oil spill which resulted into an uncontrolled discharge of gas, drilling fluids, geothermal fluids and oil sediments,’ the notice reads.

Kibiro Hot Springs in Kigorobya sub-county, Hoima District.

“Flooding homesteads, houses and gardens of residents of Kibiro village thereby occasioning them colossal damage and loss as well as poising risk to their health, livelihoods and the environment,” Owek. Rwamparo reveals in the notice.

Owek. Rwamparo revealed that efforts to voice their concerns through the proper channels yielded nothing prompting him to seek court redress.

He further decried the Energy Ministry’s efforts – in a press release – to downplay the impact of the incidents and misquoted the facts alleging a one Kiiza Julius Rubanjwa was solely affected by the oil spillage in contrast to a prior presented list of the affected persons.

“Contrary to the press release, the livelihoods of the majority of the residents of Kibiro village were forever disrupted by the unfortunate occurrence,” the Minister revealed affirming that he had also documented the loss and damage incurred in anticipation of adequate and fair compensation.

Owek. Rwamparo expressed distress given his business operations (Kibiro Natural Refined Salt) have since disrupted after being deprived of the raw materials hailing from the colossal damage caused by the spillage.

The Bunyoro Tourism and Antiquities Minister has sought redress challenging the Energy Ministry to conduct a thorough and timely investigation into the oil spillage incident at Kibiro village, documentation of the environmental clean-up plan and remedial mitigation measure.

He demands a proper assessment and timely payment of adequate compensation to him and the residents of Kibiro for the damage and loss presently estimated at more than UGX7Bn

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