A’Ibom Communities Give ExxonMobil Further Ultimatum on Oil Spills, MoU

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

It appears to be a season of ultimatums by oil producing areas of Akwa Ibom State on America oil giant, ExxonMobil, with such warning issued within three weeks over payment of oil spill compensation.

Two weeks ago, Ibeno youths had issued a threat to commence hostility against ExxonMobil with a seven-day ultimatum for defaulting in Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and demanded N100 billion over accumulated unpaid oil spill fund.

Last week, elders of Akwa Ibom State under the umbrella of the Akwa Ibom Vanguard, berated President Muhammadu Buhari over allocation of a paltry sum of N1.92 billion out of N497.76 to the state for capital projects, describing it as injustice, marginalisation and prejudice.

The leader of the group, Senator Anietie Okon, had expressed concern that the state, being the highest producer of oil and gas and the highest source of revenue to the country, could be offered such a paltry sum of money compared to other states that are not into oil and gas activities.

Just last Saturday, the people of oil-rich Eket Local Government Area frowned at their neglect by the federal and state governments as well as ExxonMobil exploiting oil in the area, warning that their silence over the years of neglect and underdevelopment was taken for granted.

Also, yesterday, youths from Esit Eket issued another seven-day ultimatum to ExxonMobil to honour MoU it signed with stakeholders of the host community or face serious action that could cripple its oil and gas activities in the area.

At a news briefing in Uyo, the state capital, the President of Esit Eket Frontline Youths Movement (EEFYM), Akan Etteudo, explained that the America oil giant had refused to honour the MoU it reached with the community regarding the deployment of oil spill compensation funds to the development of educational infrastructures in Esit Eket.

“It is with displeasure that we resort to use this medium, on behalf of the entire youths of Esit Eket to press home our grievances. As youths of the host community, we believe in peaceful co-existence as violence does not bring anything good,” he lamented.

He said roof of many schools in the Esit Eket were brought down for renovation based on the earlier agreement that compensation arising from the oil spill would be deployed to developing educational infrastructures in the area.

“In November 2015, your oil organisation entered into an agreement with our community to make available some amount of money to cushion the effects of unchecked oil spillage, which came in the form of developmental projects.

“And paltry sums were made available with no assurance from company that the balance would be paid to enable the local contractors and resource persons complete their job. But up till now, your company had failed to honour the agreement, forcing the contractors to abandon the contracts,” he stated.