Akwa Ibom rulers blame kidnapping on oil company’s neglect
The Akwa Ibom State Paramount Ruler’s Forum, has blamed alleged failure by Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited to pay the people compensation for oil spills as being responsible for the spate of kidnappings in the Esit Eket Council of the state.
A statement signed by three paramount rulers from Essien Udim, Itu, and Oron councils with Mr. Afaha Emmanuel as secretary, indicated that the kidnap of the paramount ruler of Esit Eket , Edidem Peter Assam, his pregnant wife and four children, was caused by Mobil’s insensitivity for the people.
They said that the pregnant wife who gave birth in captivity and the four other children had been released by their abductors, but the
whereabouts of the paramount ruler remains unknown.
According to the paramount rulers, the abductors might have thought that there was no way Mobil could have undertaken only palliative measures without the payment of the main oil spill compensation to all the affected victims including all individual fishermen and cooperatives.
They stated that instead of payment of compensation and proper clean-up of oil spills, Mobil now prefers to adopt an escape route called ‘palliatives,’ which are mere pittance by way of minor contracts awarded by themselves to themselves, especially for jobs like boreholes, renovation of classroom blocks which should normally be their corporate social responsibilities.
“Major major polluters Mobil and Shell have consistently refused to handle the menace of oil spill compensation in accordance with internationally accepted standard of practice in the oil and gas industry.
“In fact, it is widely believed within the core communities of Akwa Ibom State that Mobil had released the May 1, 2010 oil spills compensation to the Presidency and that the Presidency has in turn released same to the paramount rulers which sum they have embezzled.
“Also, the 2012 and 2014 oil spill compensations are believed to have been embezzled by the rulers hence the attacks and abductions which started in 2010 when a paramount ruler was first kidnapped and taken to Cameroun and kept in the forest for 23 days,” they said.
They urged President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the issue of oil spill from 1998 to 2016 as they affect the Niger Delta region,holistically.
The paramount rulers also want the president to investigate the wherea bouts of otherwise alleged 2010, 2012 and 2014 Mobil compensation money already believed to have been released by the company.