Oil Spill Compensation!
Eket Community Reads Riot Act to ExxonMobil…LGs Demand N26.5Bn or else
*Says: “Damages caused by the 400,000 barrels of crude oil, loss to economic lives”
* Alleges: “State Govt planning to use oil spill money to construct Eket-Ibeno Road”
*Reaction by State Govt: ‘Gov Akpabio committed to unconditional development in community’–Obongiwaad Emman, Special Assistant to Governor Akpabio on Projects Monitoring
STAKEHOLDERS in Eket Federal Constituency has given final deadline to ExxonMobil, oil producing giant by reading riot act to them to immediately pay up the sum of N26.5bn being an insignificant sum comparatively to the 400,000 barrels of crude oil spillage of November, 2012 which resulted in mayhem on the economic lives of the coastal communities.
Naija Standard observed that to ensure full compliance, the stakeholders issued to authorities of ExxonMobil full payments of N26.5bn oil to the four oil producing local governments as compensation or risk mass protest and action.
Arising from a meeting in Eket, the communities under the aegis of Eket Federal Constituency Vanguard, their press statement said it was absurd that the multinational oil firm could renege on her earlier stand by offering a paltry N2.6bn which is grossly inadequate for damages caused by the 400,000 barrels of crude oil spillage of November, 2012 which resulted in mayhem on the economic lives of the coastal communities.
The seven-day ultimatum expires on Wednesday 23rd October 2013. The community stakeholders who acted based on an earlier communiqué jointly issued by the paramount rulers of the four local government areas said the era of allowing Mobil Producing Nigeria to always take them for granted is over.
The paramount rulers had on 25th September condemned and rejected an overture of N2.6Bn offered by the oil giants, maintaining that it was grossly inadequate for the quantum of loss experienced by the community.
The community argued that while the spill lasted for over four months, Mobil rather stood by the announcement it had made on the second day of the spill that only 200,000 barrels of crude oil was emitted into the atmosphere, a situation which means that more than two million barrels of crude oil was actually emitted into the environment.
The communiqué dated 16th October 2013, and signed by representatives from the four oil bearing communities namely Isaiah Abia(Esit Eket), William Mkpa(Ibeno), Ime Utin(Onna)
and Udo BAssey(Eket) reads in part, “That the Community Vanguard condemns in strong terms several lies, insults, abuses and total disregard by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited of the agreements reached at the intervention meetings held by Gov. Godswill Akpabio on November 23, 2012 and July 26, 2013 on the oil spill saga.
The communique reads: “That the Community Vanguard demands 100 employment slots for graduates and 100 slots for artisans to make up for the neglect since 1998.
“That henceforth, oil spill compensation will be paid in dollars, and that communities should be allowed to select their projects and consultants.
“That compensation should be made to reach the communities and individuals to make up for their losses.
“That Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited should comply with the above demands within seven days and that failure shall result in serious and indefinite protest and actions.”
Accuses State Govt
Naija Standard gathered that the communities accused the state government of plan to use oil spill money in constructing Eket-Ibeno Road. They stated that any such efforts by the
government will be resisted by the communities.
Speaking at the occasion, David said a Houston-based insurance company in the United
States of America, evaluated the actual spill sum to be N49.6bn. Some of those who spoke at the enlarged meeting include Chief Mbong Mbong a former State Vice Chairman of the PDP, Obonganwan Peters both from Eket, Obonganwan Esther Umo from Onna, Barrister Bassey Nkanang, and Mr Bassey David both from Onna and Comrade Obot Mkpa from Ibeno.
They frowned at the earlier notion that Mobil in collaboration with the state government, intended to use the oil spill compensation funds for the execution of projects in the area, adding that oil spill funds should rather go the victims of the ecological disaster whose sources of livelihood had been adversely affected by the disaster.
Reaction by State Govt
But the Special Assistant to Governor Akpabio on Projects Monitoring Obongiwaad Emman Mbong debunked such a claim, maintaining that the Governor was committed to unconditional development in the community, citing such projects as the Eket –Etinan and Eket Ibeno road which construction is underway.