A multi-agency team of surveyors has embarked on a preliminary survey of all the Lamu lands intended for the establishment of the Lokichar-Lamu Crude Oil Pipeline (LLCOP).
The 824-km pipeline is a key component of the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project whose construction is underway in Kililana, Lamu West.
The pipeline will pass through six counties of Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo, Meru, Garissa and Lamu.
The surveyors are drawn from the National Lands Commission (NLC), Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Development Authority (LCDA) and other government agencies
Speaking in Lamu on Monday, Lapsset regional manager Salim Bunu said the pipeline project will pass through various places in Lamu, mainly Kililana area — which is the Lamu Port site — then to Roka, Bobo, Bar’goni and Bodhai junction as it proceeds to Garissa, Isiolo, Moyale and towards Lokichar in Turkana.
Mr Bunu, however, said a second and final survey will be conducted in the same area with view to determine what will be done to the people affected by the project.
“We already have a multi-agency team including surveyors from NLC and Lapsset. We’ve commenced preliminary survey for lands in Kililana area, Roka, Bobo, Bar’goni and Bodhai Junction. These are lands within the 23km long and 500 metre wide corridor where the pipeline will be lying within Lamu before it heads to the rest of the counties,” said Mr Bunu.
“The survey mainly intends to establish what is exactly on the ground for now. Are there structures, farms or the lands targeted is just a forest? After establishing such information, a final survey and decision will be made on what will be done to all the affected people.”
He assured all the affected people that they will be duly compensated.
“We’re aware that some lands within the corridor have title deeds while others don’t have. Some places are just a forest. We also have places with farms while others have structures where people stay. That means we will be having different cases and each case will be treated differently basing on its own merit. From there, compensation will be decided on whether it will be land to land, land to cash or both but that’s something which is yet to be discussed,” said Mr Bunu.
“The landowners shouldn’t worry. This is a state project. The government always takes care of its people. Due diligence will be done.”
Meanwhile, fake land claimants who will show up in the ongoing survey to demand ownership and possible compensation for land will be arrested.
The office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) has been incorporated in the exercise.
Addressing the public in Lamu, County Commissioner Irungu Macharia said only genuine residents affected by the pipeline project will appear on the ground as the exercise takes place.
The high number of individuals who claim compensation for lands earmarked for mega national projects has become a nuisance.
Mr Macharia urged Lamu residents to fully embrace the pipeline project and any other state projects intended in the county for the betterment of the region and the country at large.