Lamu County Commissioner has assured Kenyans and residents of Lamu County that the region is safer now.
Joseph Kanyiri gave the assurance on Thursday 20th when a team from NEPAD/ APRM Kenya Secretariat paid him a courtesy call during their project monitoring tour of the Lamu Port- South Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project in the county.
“Security has been beefed up and this has resulted to the retention of investor-interest specifically on the Lamu- Isiolo highway,” he said.
The project has employed about 970 people directly and many others indirectly; this has improved the living standards of the locals.
“LAPSSET has offered business opportunities for people who are now in offering catering, transport, clothing and other services to the workers of the project,” he added.
In the recent past, security had been a challenge in the County, but with commitment of the Kenyan Government and relevant agencies, Lamu is steadily becoming a safer haven for all.
On Wednesday 19th, LAPSSET Police Station, which is among the social amenities provided along the corridor, was officially handed over to the local security agencies.
Director of APRM in NEPAD/ APRM Kenya Secretariat Mr. Peter Kimemia, who was standing in for the Secretariat’s CEO Daniel Osiemo, together with Prof. Paul Maringa, Principal Secretary of the State Department of Public Works, and Mme Fauzia Karama who is a Board Member of the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority cut the ceremonial tape and handed over the keys to the Lamu County Commissioner and County Commandant as users of the facility.
In his remarks, Prof. Maringa expressed satisfaction with the progress of the project, and particularly the commissioning of the police station, which he said would take care of the security needs of a city projected to have over one million people.
He was confident because the city will host the largest Special Economic Zone in the country and it will greatly contribute to the achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
It is imperative that the project area be well secured to enable release of its potential in value addition to agriculture, tourism, fishing, and boat making. Because Lamu Port has been christened to be among the deepest in Africa, it will initially be used for trans-shipment to other smaller ports along the African coast of the Indian Ocean and beyond. It will also be able to handle oil transported from Turkana and South Sudan via a crude-oil pipeline.
Later on, Prof Maringa and Mme Karama led the NEPAD, LAPSSET, Kenya Ports Authority teams and other officials in planting 500 trees around the project area as part of H.E. The President’s drive to raise the country’s forest cover from the current seven percent to ten percent.
Following the commitment for the project to train and employ 1,000 youth from Lamu County, 426 scholarships have been offered so far for recipients to pursue courses relevant to the project. A further 100 students have been taken for training by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
The Kenyan Government is funding the construction of two Technical Training Institutes (TTIs) in Kizingitini and Mpeketoni which are 70 and 50 percent complete respectively.
Local youths have been encouraged to undertake on the job training.
There has been a tremendous improvement in provision of social amenities; constant water supply and electric power is being sourced from the national grid. Previously, residents got their power from generators. The grid supply has extended to Pate Island and Turkana.