Akwa Ibom communities block routes to oil firm’s facilities
Demand implementation of agreement
The host-communities to Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, have blocked all routes leading to the firm’s facilities in Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno in Akwa Ibom State.
The oil-rich communities are demanding immediate implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the firm entered into with them.
The blockage of the routes to the oil firm’s facilities in Qua Iboe Terminal was said to be a week or two weeks’ warning action and a follow-up to a street protest on Monday that led to the dumping of red coffins at the gates of MPN airstrip and the housing estate at Marina.
A letter tagged “Excesses and Insensitivities of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited Towards the Host Communities” dated September 11 and issued by the spokesman of the Akwa Ibom State ExxonMobil Core Communities, Mr. Joe Etuk Udo, on behalf of Afigh Iwad Ekid, Joint Core Contractors Initiative (JCCI), Host-Communities Youth Movement, Five Villages Youth Movement, National Youth Council (Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna), Ibeno Youth Presidents Forum and the Afaha Youth Association Incorporation, expressed dismay with the attitude of the oil giant towards its host-communities.
“It is on record that throughout the life-span of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited in Nigeria, the company has treated with levity the agreement entered into with the host-communities and Akwa Ibom State government with reckless abandonment,” the host-communities said.
They said the oil giant had treated with outright disregard the provisions of the local content law as applicable in Nigeria and frowned at the said “unrepentant, adamant and ill-attitude towards their immediate host-communities and Akwa Ibom State.”
Besides, the communities in their 10-point letter resolved that ExxonMobil should immediately relocate their headquarters to their operational area (Eket Federal Constituency), review Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and its core communities, full publication and integration of communities-based contractors/vendors into the ongoing Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) Power Distribution Upgrade (QPDUP) project and employment of indigenes of core communities into managerial and directorship positions.
They also called for the provision and implementation of guidelines for enrolment and recruitment of core communities’ indigenes into Mobil Technical Training School, compensation of communities for environmental pollution/degradation by oil spills, gas-flaring, operational noise and hazards.
Efforts to speak with the Manager, Media and Communications of ExxonMobil, Mr. Ogechukwu Udeghea on phone, failed but he demanded a text message placed on his line, which The Guardian did on some of the issues, but no response as at time of filing in this report.