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Pastoral community moves to High Court to stop oil exploration

RIFT VALLEY
By Kamau Muthoni | October 15th 2014
High court judge justice Mumbi Ngugi (PHOTO.FIDELIS KABUNYI)

Residents of Badada location have challenged the oil and gas exploration activities in the area, arguing they would not benefit.

In a petition filed under a certificate of urgency before the High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi, the community argued that the prospecting company had not put in place measures to mitigate environmental degradation after it signed the deal.

Through lawyer Mukele Ngacho, the community said their animals were at risk of losing grazing fields once the firm, Taipan Resource Incorporation, started exploration at Badada Block 2B.

"The prospecting is already having and shall continue to have adverse effects on the pastoralist community's livelihood," Mr Mukele told the court.

He argued that the activities by Taipan had limited the community's freedom of movement and hampered the culture of members of the Arjuran community.

The court heard that the initiative had a likelihood of sparking clashes between the nomadic communities due to limited resources.

holy fields

According to Ahmed Hefow, who swore an affidavit on behalf of the community, the area where the company has been drilling was the most preferred grazing field and had been held as a sanctuary by the community that claims to be indigenous.

Mr Hefow said the area was named Badada, meaning prosperity, but this, he said would no longer be true once the company left the site.

"It is a fact that the oil drilling being done here poses potential harmful effects on the environment and livelihood of the community within the vicinity of the project," Hefow said.

He claimed the company was already cordoning off large areas of the grazing fields and had started building airstrips and roads, which he added would totally alter the culture of the community.

"This poses a great danger to the survival of the Arjuran community's ancient way of life, property and livelihood," he said.

The firm is said to have started work last month. Hefow told the court this was done without consultations with community leaders.

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