By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Eight multi-national oil companies operating in Akwa Ibom State have been dragged to the National Human Rights Commission Special Investigation Panel sitting in the state for the payment of N34 trillion as compensation for oil spill victims in the state.
The oil companies involved are ExxonMobil; Shell Petroleum Development Company; Seven Exploration and Production Energy; Total E&P; Addax Petroleum; Universal Energy; Mono-Pulo, and Oriental Energy.
The Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Network laid the claims on Tuesday on behalf of the oil spill victims, including farmers and fishermen, before the special investigation panel on oil spills and environmental pollution chaired by Mrs. Oti Ovrawah.
A construction firm in the state, Julius Berger, was also dragged before the panel for causing the death of a boy who fell into its burrow at Itam in Itu Local Government Area of the state.
The petitioners also wants a confectionery firm located at the mouth of the burrow to vacate its business premises as it was shattered by vibration due to the heavy duty equipment of Julius Berger.
In a petition, the group alleged that the oil firms flared gas at 33 points, emitted spills into the state waterways, which resulted in effluence flowing through all the rivers and streams across the state.
The petition, endorsed by memoranda from paramount rulers of the 31 LGA of the state, highlighted cases of oil spillages between 1998 to 2015.
Some of the oil spills, they said, lasted beyond two weeks, adding that some of these spills originated from ExxonMobil platforms and Shell corked oil wells.
The group noted cases of hydro-carbon pollution with harmful effects on the aquatic lives and ecosystem which impacted negatively on the livelihood of the people.
Further Details Later