Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Community Development Network (AKIPCON) has chided the oil giant, ExxonMobil, over refusal to pay compensation to affected communities of its estimated 30,000 barrels of crude oil spills due to equipment failure in the state.
AKIPCON said the devastating effect of the spills from medical report’s evidence has led to the death of many, disruption of means of livelihood, while others were on hospital beds with no money to foot their bills.
The group alongside over 1,000 affiliated groups gave the oil giant a 21-day ultimatum for immediate payment of compensations to the affected communities or witness the next line of action.
A statement signed by the president general of AKIPCON and made available to newsmen in Uyo, Tuesday, noted that the oil coy was not taking necessary measures to prevent the occurrences of incessant oil spills or oily waste discharges.
The statement reads: “AKIPCON has strongly kicked against ExxonMobil who keeps on discharging treated effluent wastes, oil-spec products, oily waste, oily organic sludge, storm water, surface drainage, polluted water from tank farms (QIT) into Douglas Creek on daily basis.
“These are eventually washed and deposited into Qua Ibo River, Atlantic Ocean and other adjoining rivers, streams, swamps, ect with attendant pollution of the environment and see foods, killing fishes and fingerlings as well as disruption of means of livelihood of the people being fishing and farming.
“A clear case in point is the ExxonMobil June 29, 2014 when due to the company’s equipment failure over 30,000 barrels of crude oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean from Qua Ibo Terminal (QIT) – ExxonMobil facilities in Ibeno LGA.
“The Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) recommended among other things payment of adequate compensation to the affected communities, but ExxonMobil who was a member of the JIV team, bluntly refused to honour the report it was a signatory to.
“In a later addressed to the counsel to Ikot Ebidang Special Caretaker Committee, Onna LGA, (Freedom Chambers, Uyo) and signed by Dr. Emmanuel I. Kachikwu – executive vice chairman, /general counsel of ExxonMobil, the company admitted the spill but had never done anything about compensation to the spill victims.
“It is only in Nigeria that oil companies grow wings and do not comply with the laws meant to regulate their activities. They do not also comply with international best practices as they live above the law, whereas, the reverse is the case in their own country.
“Over 1,000 farmers and fishing Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (MPCS), groups and associations in the state affiliated to AKIPCON have given ExxonMobil and SPDC 21- days ultimatum to address oil and gas-lingering issues that is, payment of compensation on oil spills, gas flaring and emissions from corked and uncorked oil wells belonging to SPDC. Otherwise, farmers and fishermen in the state will jointly take other necessary steps to obtain their rights from the oil giant,” the statement added.