Angry youths in Eket LGA, Akwa Ibom, have disrupted activities at ExxonMobil, in protest over non-payment of money as palliative for oil spill recorded in the community since 2011.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the youths disrupted activities at Mobil Airstrip as well as the company’s housing estate.
Numbering over 100, the youths carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘ExxonMobil release our Money,’ ‘Regina Udobong please our money,’ ‘ExxonMobil enough is enough,’ ‘Ibeno, Esit Eket and Onna have been paid why not Eket?’, ‘We will not leave until our money is paid’ among others.
The gate leading into the ExxonMobil airstrip was barricaded preventing workers of the oil firm, from accessing the airstrip and some employees who were billed to go offshore were stranded with their luggage at the airstrip.
The leader of the protesting youths, Godwin Nduaesa, said the youths were aggrieved because of the delay in the payment of money as palliative for oil spill to Eket.
“The protest has become necessary because the three core oil communities of Ibeno, Onna and Esit Eket have since 2015 been paid leaving out Eket without any explanation,” he said.
“The youths will remain here until the money is released for Eket community.”
He accused the management of oil giant of deceiving the paramount ruler of Eket with promises that the money would be released on dates that were not fulfilled.
“We cannot continue to allow such an insult on the sensibility of our paramount ruler and the people of Eket,” he said.
Donatus Samuel, a Community Leader from Okopedi, where Mobil airstrip is located, said ExxonMobil should urgently pay N1.17 billion being owed Eket community.
He said the youths would continue to block ExxonMobil’s facilities until the money was paid.
Ogechukwu Udeagha, ExxonMobil’s Manager, Media and Communication, who confirmed the development, promised to get back to newsmen on the resolution.