By Dennis Udoma
UYO—American oil company operating in Akwa Ibom State, Exxon-Mobil Corporation, has been given a marching order to relocate its headquarters to its operational base in the state or face dire consequences from the people.
A socio-cultural organisation in the state, Afigh Iwaad Ekid, gave the order at Eket, calling on Exxon-Mobil to immediately relocate to Akwa Ibom or face massive state-wide protest.
Speaking to newsmen, President-General of the apex organisation, Obong-Iwaad Godwin William, said that the marching order was necessary, because in the last two decades, the company has continued to cajole the people of state on the issue.
He said: “The constraints Exxon-Mobil gave as reasons for not relocating, many years ago, are no more there. The state government, over the years, has met all the requirements needed for oil companies including Exxon-Mobil, to establish their head offices in the state.”
He flayed the company for drilling oil in Akwa Ibom State for decades but, issuing directives including award of major contracts and employment in Lagos, adding that “the time has come for such injustices to end.”
He said the company has for long refused to implement the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, it signed with the communities and the state government.
According to him, “The MoU which was signed in 1995 between MPN and the community demanded the relocation of their headquarters the state. None of the items in the agreement has been implemented.”
“Exxon-Mobil cannot rob Peter to pay Paul. A situation, where Mobil pays millions of Naira as tax to Lagos State Government and devastated our environment for peanuts can no more be tolerated.”
While calling on the Federal Government to prevail on the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to respect the wishes of the people, who have lost their environmental integrity and means of livelihood to the negative impact of oil exploration in the past 60 years, he said that, failure to implement the order would be resisted by the people, as youths would soon be mobilized to disrupt activities of the company.