Oil producing communities of Eket local government area, Akwa Ibom has given a 21 day ultimatum to Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Unlimited and affiliate of America oil giant, ExxonMobil to pay them the oil spill compensation or risk closing shop.
Also involved in the issuance of the ultimatum are Association of Akwa Ibom Villages Chairmen (ASSAVIC), Eket youths Chapter and stakeholders who are demanding the payment of over N4billion from various oil spills recorded in the territory.
Thisday gathered that the 21 day ultimatum on MPN came just as activities of the Universal Energy Resource were temporarily halted on Wednesday when its host community staged a peaceful demonstration at its corporate headquarters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Legal adviser to Eket community, Mr. Akpa Akpa in a letter to MPN alleged that there was an attempt to divert the over N4 billion compensation meant for the community to the State Government.
The people regretted that in spite of the fact that Mobil had acknowledged that the November 2012 oil spill which caused devastation, injuries and losses to the community, nothing has been done in spite of promises for immediate payment of compensation to affected local government areas.
“But now, information making rounds in Eket and beyond is that there is a grand plan to divert to Akwa Ibom Government over N4 billion November 2012 oil spill compensation due to Eket Local Government Area,’’ the letter stated.
The Eket community, accordingly directed MPN to pay the amount due the people over the spillage through a properly constituted committee including accredited members of ASSAVIC, youths and stakeholders of the community within 21 days.
Reacting, Manager, Public and Government Affairs, Qua Iboe Terminal, Eket, Mr Akaninyene Esiere, said ExxonMobil had nothing to do with compensation over oil spill as it was the responsibility of the National Oil Spill Detective and Responsive Agency (NOSDRA), and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
According to him, these agencies will do a thorough investigation to show that the farms were actually affected by the oil spills before the payment was made.
Meanwhile, the protest at the premises of the Universal Energy Resource was to press for non-implementation of the 2012 development projects and other sundry issues as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the company and host community in July, last year.
The protesters carried placards that read “Universal Energy implement the provisions of the MOU”, We reject injustice, we reject oppression, we reject divide and rule”, “No community development, no Universal Energy Resources”, etc.