By Okon Bassey in Uyo
Ibeno youths of Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have given a seven day-ultimatum to America Oil giant, ExxonMobil to fulfill the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the area or face hostility.
The youths in a-five page strongly-worded letter also demanded the payment of compensation of N100 billion to the Ibeno people as damages caused by spill from the oil major facilities for years unpaid for.
The seven-day ultimatum and demand of the youths were contained in a letter dated October 19, 2016 to the Chairman/Managing Director of ExxonMobil, Mobil House Lekki, Lagos and copies made available to the state governor, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, security operatives, paramount ruler of Ibeno and other stakeholders.
The letter duly signed by concern youth groups in the area said: “We seriously frown at the situation where the feelings of Ibeno people are treated with disdain and levity, without any iota of recourse to the fact that we are the actual people creating enablement for your business venture and operations.”
The youths warned that the current economic recession should not be seen as an excuse to dehumanise the people and subject them to untold hardship, considering the fact that their means of livelihood, far pushed to extinction is caused by the oil exploitation.
The people expressed concern that instead for the host community to be seen as major stakeholders in the oil business, the oil firm rather relegated them to the background and perpetual penury.
“Your oil exploitations have depleted our environment. Our dominant species of fish in our territorial waters have been destroyed or driven away. Oil spill is a daily occurrence as a result of negligence and poor maintenance culture and this has caused severe damage to aquatic lives, and our source of livelihood.
“Our peaceful and simple posture seems to be misplaced and taken for granted and that confirms reasons of your insensitivity to our numerous problems your operations have caused us.
“After protracted negotiations between your company and our communities, memorandum of understanding was entered into… As a matter of urgency, we call for immediate implementation of the MoU”, the youths stressed.
The youths berated the large number of both regular and contract staff who are indigenes of the area retrenched from the oil firm, arguing that economic recession should not be an excuse for such action.
“Disappointedly, your action is indeed not only a calculated attempt to undermine our integrity and existence, but gross wickedness to exterminate families in Ibeno,” the letter stated.