UPDF and UNOC Reach Consensus on Security in Oil Hosting Areas

UPDF and UNOC Reach Consensus on Security in Oil Hosting Areas
UPDF Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbadi and UNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Proscovia Nabbanja during the UNOC/UPDF meeting at Mbuya military headquarters in Kampala on Friday, September 15, 2023. (Image: UPDF)

The Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have reached an agreement to collaborate and enhance security measures to support the successful exploration of oil and gas in Uganda.

During a meeting held on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs in Mbuya, Kampala, General Wilson Mbadi, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), encouraged both UPDF and UNOC to identify areas of cooperation within the oil sector, particularly in the realm of security, for the benefit of Ugandans and the broader African pursuit of Pan Africanism.

Gen. Mbadi emphasized the importance of this project’s security aspect, emphasizing the need for cooperation in accordance with Article 209 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution. This article mandates UPDF to protect Uganda’s territorial integrity, collaborate with civilian authorities during emergencies, promote harmony between UPDF and civilians, and actively participate in the country’s economic development.

Furthermore, the CDF urged UNOC to continue their efforts to build the capacities of Ugandans, allowing them to tap into various opportunities within the oil sector, such as hospitality, construction, and transportation. This, he believed, would reduce negative sentiments and improve the quality of life for Ugandans.

Gen. Mbadi also urged UNOC to disseminate knowledge about the oil resource nationwide, highlighting that ideological clarity strengthens national security. He emphasized that there can be no development in an insecure environment and that understanding the industry motivates individuals to defend and protect it.

Additionally, the senior UDF officer encouraged UNOC to provide regular and accurate updates on the project’s progress, formalize the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), explore potential areas of security collaboration, and clarify their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

He promised to arrange guided tours of critical facilities such as the oil refinery, East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), Kabaleega International Airport, and Kabaale Industrial Park to familiarize UPDF officers with the project.

In conclusion, Gen. Mbadi expressed confidence that the oil and gas industry would have a positive ripple effect on the military and stimulate economic development. He pledged UPDF’s commitment to ensuring the project’s security and encouraged UNOC to do its part.

During the same meeting, UNOC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms. Proscovia Nabbanja acknowledged the potential threats to the oil and gas industry, such as terrorism, vandalism, fires, explosions, and oil spills, and committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure the sector’s success. She highlighted ongoing joint ventures, capacity-building meetings, and efforts to secure affordable loans for suppliers.

The CEO also mentioned the incorporation of oil modules into training manuals to boost local content for the project and emphasized that districts hosting oil projects and their respective traditional institutions would cooperate with the state.

SOURCE: The Hoima Post

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