Ugandan Students storm Parliament over EACOP project

The pipeline will transport oil produced from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania, where the oil will then be sold to world markets

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A group of students from Makerere University and Kyambogo University have marched to Parliament to petition the House over the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project. The students say the project will cause devastating environmental challenges to residents who live near the oil drilling areas.

In their May 29, 2024 petition, under their Slogan ”Uganda Students Against EACOP” claimed that the construction of the 1,443km heated pipeline from Hoima to Tanga, Tanzania has existential consequences to most of the region’s natural resources such as Lake Victoria where a third of it passes through it as well as the forests and rivers.

The students marched to the House while shouting ‘Stop Eacop’ before the Parliament police intercepted them near the main gate and engaged them.

“Eacop once constructed threatens the region’s biodiversity as it passes through the region’s national parks and greatly contributes to mass extinction of the most endangered species like the great apes and hugely puts at risk their survival as the oil pipeline would escalate the level of carbon emissions and hence contributes to a growing frustration and justification for an urgent need to protect the endangered species,” the petition reads in part.

Their petition comes about six months after the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) dismissed a case that had been filed by civil society organizations protesting the construction of the pipeline.

Like the students’ arguments, the activists in their 2020 lawsuit informed the EACJ that the project will harm fragile ecosystems in areas rich in biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of tens of thousands of local people.

Five judges in their ruling said that the activists had filed the case late and therefore, it could not be adjudicated upon “for having been filed outside the time prescribed.”

The project also nearly faced a setback in September 2022 when the European Union Parliament called for its suspension over allegations of human rights violation which was later cleared after it was realised that it was not true.

Eacop is a 1,443km crude export pipeline system that will be constructed to transport crude oil from Kabaale – Hoima District in Uganda to a maritime port facility on the Chongoleani peninsula Tanga in Tanzania.

It is being constructed by four partners including Total Energies which owns 62 percent shares, China National Offshore Oil Company (Cnooc) with 8 percent, and Ugandan and Tanzanian governments each with 15 percent shares.

The pipeline will pass through 10 districts of; Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Rakai, and Kyotera; 27 Sub-counties, three Town Councils, and one hundred seventy-one (171) villages.

The pipeline will transport oil produced from Uganda’s Lake Albert oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania, where the oil will then be sold to world markets

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