The paramount ruler of Eket, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Etim Charles David Abia has slammed the major oil company in the state, Exxon Mobil on what he described as lack of development plans for the host communities.
He noted that the coming of Exxon Mobil has brought about untold hardship, hunger and untimely death to indigenes of the state as a result of their nonchalant attitude towards the welfare of the people especially those in the core oil community who are the main victims of hazards associated with oil exploration. He cited instances where compensations for oil spillage are not promptly paid, corporate social responsibilities that have direct bearing on the people of the areas are not done to ameliorate the impact of their operation.
The royal father whose reign brought about what is generally described by many as lasting peace and tranquility between the community and Exxon Mobil as a result of his mediatory capacity and many years experience to manage crises, decried the ill treatment by Exxon Mobil in view of his fatherly role to ensure peaceful co-existence between the two communities, “when I said that we are not fairly treated by Exxon Mobil is varied, one-we suffer from oil spill, gas flaring and other effects of oil exploration yet, look at our roads, our children are not employed into good positions in Exxon Mobil but Igbos, Yorubas and the likes. Two, we do not derive the full benefit as we ought to. Look at the issue of the MoU, it has since expired and Exxon Mobil does not deem it fit to call us for a re-negotiation despite our pleas”.
The custodian of the traditional stool in Eket however, accused a-one-time governor of the state, Arc. Obong Victor Attah for not allowing Exxon Mobil to develop the area, “Attah discouraged Exxon Mobil from developing the host communities saying that the entire state is the host community and this does not go down well because, what we pass through from day to day throughout our life, others do not pass through”. He called on Exxon Mobil to look back and give ‘what belongs to Ceasser back to Ceasser’ for a long lasting and mutual co-existence.
Answering questions from newsmen regarding the operation of the State governor, the royal father acknowledged appreciated the present government led by Deacon Udom Emmanuel, whom he described as a working governor. He listed roads currently embarked by the governor and charged the governor to keep on as the entire people of Eket are behind him even till 2023 when his tenure will end. He advised the present administration to put more effort as he is doing by bringing more investors to the state so that that state could grow economically and think more aware from oil, “we need to look beyond oil and look at oil palm, agriculture and other money spinning ventures and invest in them for the growth of the state”. He called on the people of the state to unite together and build a virile, strong and indivisible Akwa Ibom of our dream, devoid of ethnic political affinity.