By PATRICK ODEY, Uyo
Angry youths from Esit-Eket have given oil giant, ExxonMobil, seven days ultimatum to address all issues contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed recently with stakeholders in the community.
The youths threatened that failure to implement such could lead to crippling oil and gas activities in the area.
Speaking in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the President of Esit Eket Frontline Youths Movement (EEFYM), Comrade Akan Etteudo, explained that Mobil had refused to honour the MoU it reached with the community regarding the deployment of oil spill compensation funds to the development of educational infrastructures in Esit Eket.
He said “It is with displeasure that we resort to use this medium, on behalf of the entire youths of Esit Eket to press home our grievances. As youths of the host community we believe in peaceful co-existence as violence does not bring anything good”.
He recalled that a number of schools scattered around Esit Eket were brought down for renovation in line with the earlier agreement that compensation arising from the oil spill that devastated the area should be deployed to developing educational infrastructures in the area.
“In November 2015, your oil organization entered into an agreement with our community to make available some amount of money to cushion the effect deadly effects of unchecked oil spillage, which came in the form of developmental projects.
“And paltry sums were made available with assurance from the company that the balance would be paid to enable the local contractors and resource persons complete the job. But up till now, your company had failed to honour the agreement, forcing the contractors to abandon the contracts”, he said.
Ahead of the West African Examination Schools’ Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) billed for November\December, 2016, the Esit Eket chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has expressed dismay at what it described as Mobil’s non commitment to the project.
In a statement by the Esit Eket branch Chairman of NUT, Comrade Effiong Asuquo Ekong, lamented that students have been learning under the trees following the demolition of their schools by contractors hired by Mobil fix the projects.
According to Ekong, “our enquires from various contractors revealed that the financiers, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Unlimited to release the third milestone payment to contractors to enable them complete the projects on time was not forthcoming, which is one of the reasons they abandoned the project”.
Meanwhile, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), committed to alleviating poverty in the Niger Delta has demanded for the immediate implementation of the oil spill compensation deal Mobil reached with the affected community.
Network Advancement Programme for Poverty and Disaster Risks Reduction (NAPDRR), in a statement made available to reporters in Uyo, the State capital, decried Mobil’s action against its host community, warning that any ripples effect of such negligence could aggravate tension in the area that may lead to unpleasant consequences.
According to Hon. Al Mustaper Emem Edoho, the President General of the NGO, Mobil should honour the agreement in the best interest of primary and secondary schools pupils, “who are the future leaders” .
“Our concern that is very worrisome to us, is that most of the school children their classes \lectures under the trees, one month after resumption of academic session. As a corporate socially responsibly company, it is against the UNESCO Convention to subject schools’ children to such inhuman conditions”, he stressed.
he Manager in-charge of Government and Public Affairs at Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT), Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Regina Udobong, could not be reached for comments as at press time.