August 27, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan prominent opposition leader Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin has urged the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to promptly answer demands by the people of Melut County of Upper Nile state who have been on demonstrations for two days demanding services from oil companies.
In a statement extended to Nyamilepedia on Wednesday, Dr. Lam who is the leader of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) said the demands of the Melut residents are legitimate and should be provided by the government in Juba.
“For the third day running, the citizens of Melut County have been staging peaceful demonstrations calling for their rights in getting services due to the exploitation of oil in their area,” Dr. Lam who is also the Secretary-General of South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) said in the statement.
“These are legitimate demands enshrined in our laws and guaranteed by the commitments of the government towards its citizens in the oil-producing areas. Our government is obliged to pay 5% of the revenue accruing from oil production in a state to that state, and specifically, more than half of that must be paid to the area in the state that produces the oil. In this case, Melut County deserves this treatment,” the statement added.
While saying the demands of the protesters are legitimate, the opposition leader pointed to the environmental damage the reckless exploitation of oil by companies has caused.
“The demands of the demonstrators are simple: provision of healthcare, clean water and following healthy ways to dispose the contaminated water resulting from oil production ….. We have observed a number of years the environmental deterioration in the oil-producing areas in Melut and other areas. This impacted dangerously on the health of human beings and their animals. All this must be brought to speedy end,” Dr. Lam said.
He further commended the protesters for keeping their demand and demonstrations peaceful and urged them to continue in the same manner urging the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit to answer their demands.
“We commend the citizens of Melut county for keeping their demands peaceful and we encourage them to continue that way. At the same time, we call upon the government to heed to these legitimate demands and promptly provide these services which the masses of our people in Melut county deserve,” he further said.