Hundreds of students in Uganda took to the streets on Thursday to protest the resolution by the European Union Parliament seeking to delay the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The students cautioned the EU to stay away from the project which they believe would go a long way to help in poverty alleviation in Uganda and Tanzania.

Communicating their anger through placards which reads: ‘Leave Our Oil’, the students marched from Kololo Independence Group in Kampala through several streets and ended at the Crested Towers, where the offices of the EU are located.

The representative of the students later met the UE officials in a closed-door meeting.

Mr Yusuf Werunga, President of the Uganda National Students Association (UNSA), told journalists during the protest that Uganda’s development can neither wait nor be postponed.

“We had hope in this pipeline project. This project meant to transform our country and the economy,” he said.

He added: “European Union should respect the sovereignty of Uganda as a country to start dealing with their issues. We have much hope in our country’s oil. It’s going to employ most of us who are in school right now.”

Speaking to the media, the Press and Information Officer of the EU Delegation, Mr Emmanuel Gyezaho said they received a petition from the USA detailing their concerns.

“The appeal was received by the deputy head of EU delegation to Uganda, Mr Guillaume Chartrain, who promised the youth that the petition would be forwarded to the EU parliament and have a discussion on the same,” he said.

Mr Gyezaho said the students used the engagement to reaffirm their support for the EU’s positive transformative projects in Uganda, noting that EACOP can be one of them as long as it is done sustainably.

This is the second protest at the EU offices in less than two weeks by different groups over the same matter.

Last week, activists protested the resolution at the EU offices in Kampala.

On September 16, EU lawmakers voted to pass the resolution that seeks to compel Uganda and Tanzania to delay the development of the EACOP, warning of human rights abuses and the social and environmental risk posed by the project.

However, President Museveni, last Tuesday, called the EU lawmakers opposed to the project “shallow” and reiterated that everything would go on as planned for commercial oil production to start in 2025.

“I encourage the oil companies to continue the refinery and oil pipeline. I hope our partners will join us firmly and advise accordingly,” he said.

Africa Union Watch, a pan-African non-governmental organisation based in The Gambia, also issued a statement and cautioned EU Parliament to stay away from the project.

EACOP is a pipeline project which will stretch 1,443km (896miles) from Lake Albert in western Uganda to the Tanzanian port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean.



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