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Akwa Ibom youths threaten to disrupt ExxonMobil operations over non-employment of indigenes



Akwa Ibom youths under the aegis of Nigeria Youth Initiative Forum (NYIF) have given ExxonMobil a 30-day ultimatum to prevail on their contractors to employ youths of Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna council areas.

Chairman of the forum, Comrade Sammy Bassey and its secretary, Comrade Godwin Edwards, issued the ultimatum in a letter addressed to the company’s chairman and managing director in Uyo.

The group threatened to close down the Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) road and the Mobil Airstrip should the company ignore the demand.

Chairmen and secretaries of Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna council areas also signed the letter.

The youths alleged that no fewer than 400 qualified seafarers and cadet officers from the area had been denied employment by 42 marine and services firms working for ExxonMobil.

They demanded that ExxonMobil should employ qualified indigenes in its marine department, as well as direct all marine contractors to source their workforce from among the seafarers and crewmen in their communities.

The forum urged ExxonMobil to commence the immediate rebuilding of the QIT jetty and also commence the immediate review of the 2007 ExxonMobil community relations guidelines.

They also requested the company to direct its contractor, Bristow Helicopters, to begin training their youths on helicopter operations after decades of operating in the area.

The forum further alleged that most ExxonMobil contractors had not executed any community development project in the area since 2007.

“ExxonMobil should direct its contractors to discharge their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the people of the host communities.

“We condemn the attitude of some contracting firms that engage the youths from the area on meager salary considering the current reality in the country,” the letter stated.

It lamented that some community liaison officers (CLOs) appointed by labour committee were yet to collect appointment letters from the contracting firms, meaning that they are not accepted.

The forum, therefore called for the payment of adequate compensation to some of the youths who were laid off by some ExxonMobil contractors.

The NYIF alleged that the neglect and insensitivity of the contracting firms had denied job opportunities to over 10, 000 youths in the area, noting that such firms violated the Akwa Ibom Oil Companies and Vessels law 2007 and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010.

“They are breaching the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007, the Merchant Shipping Act 2003, the Inland and Coastal (Cabotage) Shipping Act 2003 and ExxonMobil Community Labour Relations Guidelines 2007,” it stated.

The forum, therefore, requested ExxonMobil to direct its Public and Government Affairs Department to liaise with the communities and the state government to avoid further breaches of the laws.

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