Militants under the aegies of Unyekisong Akwa Ibom have asked all multinational oil companies operating in the state to vacate the area with immediate effect.
In a statement by the Leader and the Deputy of the group, General Dede Udofia and Major Ibanga Ekang, obtained by newsmen in Uyo on Sunday, they said the vacation notice became necessary due to unwholesome atrocities perpetrated by multinational oil companies on oil producing communities.
Unyekisong Akwa Ibom is a coalition of freedom fighters in Akwa Ibom State comprising, former members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Movement for the Actualization of the Niger Delta Republic, Niger Delta People’s Salvation Force, Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Liberation Force and Niger Delta Movement for Justice and Niger Delta Warriors
The statement also expressed displeasure over what it described as passive response of the current administration in the state to the constant cries and yearnings of the suffering masses from these communities whose sources of livelihood, property and lives have been completely destroyed as a result of the operations of these oil firms.
“As a result of the refusal of the oil firms operating in the territorial waters of Akwa Ibom State, apart from ExxonMobil & Savannah Petroleum, to locate their operational bases in the State, and their refusal to implement their Corporate Social Responsibility as well as the provisions of the Nigerian Local Content Law in their employment and contract policies, we hereby advise them and their subsidiaries/partners to vacate Akwa Ibom State with immediate effect.
“It is very sad to observe that since the commencement of operations by Addax, Moni Pulo, Chevron, Century, Oriental Energy, Savannah Petroleum, Total E & P, SEEPCO, AFREN, AMNI, etc. and their subsidiaries/partners in the various oil fields in Akwa Ibom territorial waters, they have enjoyed relative peace without any hostilities to their projects compared to other oil communities in the Niger delta region, but our people have not derived any substantial benefits from these oil companies, rather we have been subjected to unwholesome deprivations and marginalization.
“It is also indeed very painful and regrettable to witness the high level of suffering, hopelessness, degradation and poverty that the people of the oil producing communities in Akwa Ibom State have been subjected to as a result of the industrial activities of the various oil firms since their commencement of operations.
“We also express our utmost displeasure at the companies’ insensitivity to underdevelopment and degrading living standards of the people in the oil producing communities, due to their many years of oil exploration and exploitation in the area with the attendant environmental hazards.
It expressed disappointment to the insensitivity of the oil companies and the state government to the plight of the oil bearing communities.
“As the economic nerve-centre of the country and the highest contributor to the annual earnings of the country, we in Akwa Ibom State are also totally shocked and disappointed at the passive response of the present State government to the constant cries and yearnings of the suffering masses from these communities whose sources of livelihood, property and lives have been completely destroyed as a result of the operations of these firms.
“The matter has been made even worse that after collecting the 13% oil derivation funds for these past six years, the government of Governor Udom Emmanuel cannot account for how the funds were used, neither has the government any project to show for in the area of provision of social amenities in the oil producing communities rather the people have continued to suffer high level of marginalization, neglect and poverty. There are no functional schools, portable water, markets, access roads, health facilities, etc. in the affected communities.
“The oil companies have totally abandoned their Corporate Social
Responsibility which shows that they came to Akwa Ibom State in order to worsen the condition of the already deprived people of the region instead of development. It is no more news that the companies have been drilling several barrels of oil per day from the rigs located in our territorial waters, but do not see the need to provide basic amenities to their immediate host communities and catchment areas who suffer the adverse effects of their drilling operations.” It said.
It also said that over ninety percent of their employees were from outside their host communities and the state while the companies intentionally refuse to do business with indigenous contractors/suppliers asking them to vacate the state since they are not ready to fulfill their cooperate social responsibility.
“At this juncture, UNYEKISONG wishes to inform the affected companies that since they are not prepared to work in accordance with the provisions of the Local Content Act and Corporate Social Responsibility, we therefore warn them to immediately evacuate all the innocent workers from their operational bases and rigs both onshore and offshore within our territorial waters to avoid casualties and damages.” It added.