Leaders from Elgeyo Marakwet county have come out to speak on behalf of their electorate concerning the socio economic benefits of the proposed oil exploration and drilling in Kerio Valley.
Former cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott said that other regions around the world have shown that oil drilling has been a source of conflict and therefore the government should engage the local community and the drilling company. Biwott added that the engagement should focus on the anticipated job opportunities and environmental effects of the exploration of oil in the area.
Sharing the same sentiments with Biwott was Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui who demanded that a report on the environmental impact of the process be made public. This he said will ensure proper mitigation mechanisms to be put in place to ensure oil drilling does not negatively affect the residents of the area.
Kiptanui said that the constitution spells out on how residents of the county should benefit from natural resources extracted from their county.
“How residents will benefit from the oil proceeds should be spelt out from the outset. As leaders, we are grateful for the discovery because it will change the livelihoods for the better if managed well,” Kiptanui said.
Tullow Oil has been contracted by the government of Kenya to explore and drill the oil. The company is also drilling oil in Turkana County and a the neighboring Uganda.