The youths of some communities in Akwa Ibom state have dropped a note of warning in an unusual manner for ExxonMobil located at QIT, Ibeno LGA, demanding that the oil company immediately relocates its headquarters to the state.
The protesting youths from Eket, Esit-Eket, Onna and Ibeno Local Government Areas of the state embarked on a warning protest on Monday, September 11, defying the heavy morning downpour.
They barricaded the gates of the company at its Housing Estate in Eket and the Airstrip with coffins and other traditional injunctions.
Mr. Joe Etukudo who spoke on behalf of the protest organizers – Afigh Iwaad Ekid said the time had come for the United States oil firm, Exxon Mobil to relocate to Akwa Ibom State in keeping with the presidential directives. Hear him:
“Today is just a warning protest done in a very civilized manner, we will eventually shut down Mobil’s operation both onshore and offshore if after fourteen days the company does not take us seriously”.
The youth leader accused the company of being selective in awarding contracts and employment against members of the core oil communities and Akwa Ibom indigenes in general.
Reacting to the protest, Governor Udom Emmanuel assured that he will create necessary logistics to ensure the prompt relocation of international oil companies to their operational base in the state.
He assured both the core communities and the Akwa Ibom people that he was negotiating with some foreign partners towards building a befitting office complex in the state for such purpose.
“I know some of them the way they structure their balance sheet, they don’t want to own huge assets in terms of buildings, but I am going to do something that they cannot actually refuse.”
Governor Udom appealed to the aggrieved youths to sheath their sword assuring that he is working out better modalities for their desires to be achieved.
“I appreciate what they are fighting for, but I think their approach is not the right one. I will try and talk to the youth leaders and see how we can use a different approach to still achieve the same result. You know I am in the forefront of calling on IOC’S, all of them should relocate to the communities they are operating from.” he said.
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil has unveiled plans to raise its budget for funding joint venture (JV) operations in Nigeria’s oil and gas fields with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2018.
This was recently disclosed by ExxonMobil’s Senior Vice-President, Mr. Jack Williams in Abuja when he visited the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
Though Williams did not disclose the total financial commitment the firm would commit to Nigeria in 2018, he, however, affirmed that ExxonMobil is also committed to ending gas flare in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC and ExxonMobil – its partner in upstream joint venture oil operation, indicated they will commit hugely to ending gas flaring at the Qua Iboe oil terminal, in order to provide sufficient gas for the independent power plant that is expected to be built there.
Both firms are also seeking new measures to expand their existing operational portfolio with a view to increasing crude oil production and availability of gas for power generation in Nigeria.