Stakeholders in Eket local government have petitioned the Federal government over the “lackadaisical attitude of ExxonMobil to its host communities, which has severally led to hostilities and unnecessary disruption of operations of the oil company.”
In a letter addressed to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachukwu, the Eket local government leaders’ forum noted that “over the years, Exxon Mobil which prides itself as a good neighbor, only responds to its obligations when the patience of youths in the communities are strained.”
The Eket leaders in the letter copied to the Presidency, the Inspector General of Police and the Akwa Ibom state governor, condemned a situation where the oil giant responds to its responsibilities when the youths “rise up to forcefully bring the company on its knees.”
“As leaders of Eket local government, we wish to draw your attention to the recent instance when some approved funds meant to serve as palliatives for one of the numerous oil spillage in the area, were not released by Exxon Mobil until the youths took to the streets nearly three years after.”
“The issue dates back to September 2013, when it was agreed after a meeting between stakeholders of the host communities, the State government and Exxon Mobil that certain monies be provided by the oil company to fund some intervention projects in the host communities, as palliatives for the incessant destruction of sources of livelihood through the inactions of the company.
Despite all entreaties, it was not until the youths got enraged on Thursday, March 17, 2016 that Exxon Mobil hurriedly came out to fulfil their part of the agreement on Friday, March 18, 2016.”
The Eket leaders who include serving and former elected and appointed public office holders from the area, as well as elders in the community posited that, “it is noteworthy that unlike what is obtainable elsewhere, Eket people are seen to be very peaceful and supporting, but this virtue is unfortunately misinterpreted as weakness.”
They maintained that, “it is this seeming weakness that has caused Gitto, the construction company handling the Eket axis of the East – West Road, to change from the designed dual – carriage project, to a mere haphazard single lane road at the Eket local government axis of the road, without any reasonable explanation.” According to them, “we have discovered that only the Eket section of the road project supervised by the NDDC, which traverses several Niger Delta states, has been downgraded and given shabby attention.
We the leaders of the area, do hereby advise that you use your good office to seek for an end to this unnecessary slight on our people, as it only threatens the air of peace in our area.”