Rising from a town hall meeting, the people of Eket Federal Constituency in Akwa Ibom State have insisted on the immediate release of the N26.5 billion compensation from the American oil giant, ExxonMobil, over of oil spillage in constituency.

In the support of the earlier position taken on the same issue by the forum of paramount rulers from the area, the body gave ExxonMobil a seven-day ultimatum to meet all its demands or risk an indefinite protest against the company’s operations in the area.

The federal constituency in presenting their positions under the umbrella of a socio-political group, the Eket Federal Constituency Vanguard, also rejected the N2.5 billion of its share from the N26.5 billion oil spill fund.

The Eket Federal Constituency Vanguard consist of community leaders, women and youth groups from Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna local government areas of the state.

A communique issued by the group at the end of its meeting on Wednesday demanded the release of the N26.5billion directly to victims of the oil spill as earlier promised by ExxonMobil.

The controversial oil spill payment is said to be in respect of the November 9, 2012 oil spill from ExxonMobil facilities which was reported to have been 200,000 barrels of oil leaked into the Atlantic coast destroying farmlands, fishing businesses and aquatic lives in the area.

Also, the community demanded the immediate employment of 100 graduates and another 100 artisans from the host communities to make up for the alleged neglect of the people since 1998.

The group described as an insult and abuse of privilege as ExxonMobil flagrantly disrespected the agreements reached between the company and the host communities through the intervention of Akwa Ibom Government.
“Henceforth, oil spill would be paid in dollars and that the communities should be allowed to select their projects and consultants,” the communiqué stressed.

The group, whose facilitators were Pastor Isaiah Abia from Esit Eket and Mr. Bassey David from Onna, among others, condemned the alleged complacency of Mobil management on issues affecting its host communities.


Information from This Day was used in this report.