Buliisa Religious Leaders Demand Oil Information

2931 Views Buliisa, Uganda

In short
Religious leaders in Buliisa district are asking government to share with them information on oil matters as key stakeholders.

Religious leaders in Buliisa district are asking government to share with them information on oil matters as key stakeholders.
Under the Bunyoro inter-religious council, the leaders issued a ten-point communiqué on Tuesday after their one-day meeting convened at Buliisa community hall in Buliisa town council.

The religious leaders say they need to be aware of whatever goes on in the oil industry in order to disseminate it to their followers.

Buliisa district is one of Bunyoro Kitara districts rich in oil resources with major oil sites now under exploration.

However, communities there complain that there is little they know despite oil exploration being done in their area.

Pastor Lawrence Bikona of Kigoya Fellowship Church says sometimes they face hurdles explaining some questions raised by their congregation in regard to oil as they are also not aware.

Bikona stresses the need for them to be availed with such information as progress on oil exploration, the likely negative effects and how to avoid them. He says with information, religious leaders will be able to guide their congregation accordingly.

Abdul Noor Kaaga, vice secretary Buliisa Muslim supreme council says religious leaders are not empowered as regards to information on oil and this makes them appear irrelevant to their followers.

Kaaga emphasizes that they should be brought on board since they reach down the communities.

The religious leaders further recommended that they be consulted by central government, local governments and oil exploration companies for their input on policy matters since they know the peoples’ aspirations as they keep with them.

The clergy also recommended that incase of compensation for any damages or inconveniences caused by oil exploration, it should be done justly.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, Bunyoro inter-religious council secretary general, Reverend Francis Barongo asked government to respect their input as they speak for the people as per their divine calling.

Quoting Proverbs 31:8-9, Reverend Barongo said religious leaders will be held responsible by God when they do not speak out for the good of his people.

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The meeting was organized by the Anti-corruption coalition of Uganda in partnership with the Midwestern anti-corruption coalition- MIRAC.

Cissy Kagaba, the executive director Anti-corruption coalition of Uganda said the meeting aims at equipping religious leaders with knowledge on their role in creating community awareness on oil matters.

Kagaba said the community lacks vital information on oil, its associated challenges and mitigation measures, a gap she says stakeholders should bridge.

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Last week a group of Banyoro formed a pressure group to push for regional demands on oil.