Stakeholders in the oil producing communities have sent a warning shot to oil exploration giants, Mobil to either they relocate their headquarters to the host communities or they Vacate from their lands.
The stakeholders yesterday during an investigative hearing conducted by the ad-hoc committee of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on the N8Billion claims on Eket-Ibeno road by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.
Speaking during the hearing, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, Owong Effiong Achianga called for the revocation of Mobil’s operational license if the company continues in its lackadaisical attitude adding that the company should pay all environmental hazard compensation.
“We would not tolerate this attitude any longer, if they don’t want to relocate, they should vacate from our lands…the Federal Government may be economical with the truth since it gets 60% proceeds but what about the host communities?, the royal father noted.
While presenting the position paper by the core communities before the Committee, the Chairman MPNU’S Core Communities Technical Committee, Chief Nduese Essien, expressed dismay that Mobil despite having made petrol dollars from Akwa Ibom State has refused to relocate its operational base to the State even after the express directive of the Acting President.
On the alleged N8b counterpart funding by Mobil, Chief Essien said that the said funds was never a voluntary contribution from Mobil but came as a result of the company attempting to pacify the core communities over its insistence on the payment of compensation for the incessant oil spills particularly that of November 2012.
According to him, ” Mobil has indulged in the practice of spending more on billboards and publicity of its projects that the actual cost of the projects””.
He added that apart from the N8b payment for Eket-Ibeno and the Special Projects II, the company had forgotten about other projects like Ibeno beach enhancement, Qua Steel revamping, construction of Faculty of Engineering at Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden and construction of Trauma centre at UUTH.
Chief Essien, a former Member of the House of Representatives, said that though other International Oil companies have consciously facilitated the siting of project offices within the project area, Mobil however actively encourages its servicing companies to operate from Lagos, Port Harcourt, One and elsewhere, thereby depriving the host communities and State of all the economic benefits that would have accrued to them.
In his response, the Chairman of the House Committee Mr. Otobong Jonathan informed the representative of Mobil, Mr. Ogr Ogagah, Head, Media and Communication that the Committee would only listen to a ranking official of the Company in the rank of Director and adjourned the hearing to Friday.