After 61 years of oil exploration and following the outright sale of assets, the oil-rich communities in the Ibeno local government area of Akwa Ibom state have told ExxonMobil to clean up their land before closing shop.
The multinational oil company recently sold their shallow water assets worth 1.3 billion dollars to Seplat Energy and the development has sparked negative reactions in many quarters.
Last week, the state government warned Seplat Energy against occupying the asset, insisting that it was contemptuous for the federal government to accent to the deal when the matter was in court.
Arising from a communiqué unanimously signed by youth, men and women of the area shortly after a town hall meeting organised by We the People (WP), Policy alert, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, among other NGOs in Ibeno on Tuesday, they said Mobil cannot divest without cleaning up their community after decades of exploration.
They demanded an immediate and comprehensive audit of the Ibeno community.
According to the communiqué, “This audit should cover environmental, livelihood, health, social and economic impacts of crude oil and gas extraction, and should be immediately followed by the remediation of impacted places, restoration of the human and ecological damages caused by extraction activities, and reparations for the irreversible damages caused by oil extraction.
“That before ExxonMobil must divestment all outstanding memorandum of understanding with host communities, undertake post-operation environmental and health assessment and restoration, settle outstanding judgment claims and compensation obligations to host communities.
“They should implement a detailed decommissioning and abandonment plan, or show evidence of savings in dedicated accounts for the Decommissioning Fund, before the conclusion of any sales,” the communiqué added.