By BONIFACE ONGERI
Residents of Garseqoftu location in Wajir County have blocked oil exploration in the area over alleged exclusion in jobs, tenders and hire of vehicles.
The locals chased away Africa Oil Kenya officials, accusing the firm of colluding with the Wajir County Government to sideline them.
They said they have no faith in the county government and asked the national government to resolve the issue before they can allow resumption of the exploration.
“We are not against the exploration because if oil is discovered it will benefit our county and the country, but we will not allow to be sidelined like non-entities. If our grievances are not resolved, the community will not allow any further operations in Garseqoftu by AOK,” they said
Their spokesman Abdikadir Mohammed said they were particularly concerned with the procurement of the construction of a murram road, an airstrip construction, transport services and supply of fuel which he claims were done without consultation of the local community.
Mohammed claimed that African Oil Kenya has not honoured a previous agreement that informed the community that 80 per cent of all procured services will go to the residents of Garseqoftu.
He said the community is being locked out by the county government for allegedly not voting for it during the March 4 polls.
However, AOK declined to comment referring The Standard on Saturday to the Wajir County government. “We will not be releasing a statement (on the grievances). I will leave it to the Wajir County and Wajir West (constituency) leadership to comment,” Muthoni Koinange, AOK’s Corporate Affairs officer said in an email to The Standard on Saturday.