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HomeNewsFRESH OIL SPILL FROM EXXONMOBIL FACILITY HITS AKWA IBOM COMMUNITY

FRESH OIL SPILL FROM EXXONMOBIL FACILITY HITS AKWA IBOM COMMUNITY


A major oil spill from Operational Field of ExxonMobil has hit three communities in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The oil spillage was noticed clearly few hours ago at the shorelines of Inueyet Ikot, Iwokpom and Ndito Eka Iba communities in Ibeno Local Government Area, our reporters have confirmed.
Teams of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA); the Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources, that visited the Qua Iboe Terminal of ExxonMobil and were taken round the shorelines of the three communities by youths of the area, have also confirmed the spillage.
However, the volume of oil spilled into the environment in the three communities could not be ascertained by the regulatory agency and the Ministries, but reports from the communities have that the spillage was huge which amounted to its being noticed at the seashore.
A stakeholder from the area, Hon Samuel Eyo, who spoke with our reporters, said “The oil spill incident occurred two weeks ago and in their normal practice, ExxonMobil tried to use chemicals to neutralize the power and effect of the spillage but by providence the thing came out because of the water tides. The State Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources was here and we took him and he confirmed it. Some other person, an aide to the Governor also came and we took him there. He also saw it and confirmed. A team of the regulatory agency, NOSDRA, was here and had gone round the affected areas and has also confirmed it. So, the issue of the recent oil spill is a confirm story.”
The people of the area have also accused ExxonMobil of Highhandedness and insensitivity to their plight and to the oil spillage.
According to Hon. Eyo, “The unfortunate situation is that when it happened like this, ExxonMobil will not come out to talk. In fact, from what we have learnt, they are trying to deny the responsibility but that is not the law. As far as we concern, the only oil major that we know here is ExxonMobil and so they have to clean up the environment first before they start talking about the ownership of the spillage. Some months ago similar thing happened and that one was very glaring to the point that they put up an inspection team that went round to check and up till this moment nothing has been done. I do not know whether they want what happened in Ogoniland to happen to us before they will act and that is what we are trying to avoid.”
“ExxonMobil is very inhuman and unappreciative to the people of Ibeno despite our peaceful disposition. So, this time around the youths of Ibeno, under the aegis of Youth Presidents Forum, decided to say enough is enough. So, we have been here on a peaceful demonstration at the entrance of the ExxonMobil since morning till now and ExxonMobil has not come out to say a word to us apart from the Area Commander and Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources that addressed us,” he lamented.
The stakeholder said the people of the area have resolved not to treat the inhuman attitude of ExxonMobil as usual, adding “Our position is that until ExxonMobil engages contractors, who will in turn engage the youths, to clean up the environment, we will not leave their entrance. So, ExxonMobil should stop playing politics with oil spillage because this time around it will not be business as usual. It is a very serious issue.”
Also speaking, Chairman of Ibeno Youth Presidents’ Forum, Mr. Alphonsus Umoh, said they have been on a peaceful demonstration to protest the inhuman attitude meted on the people of the area by ExxonMobil, stressing that “it is even more annoying that up till now ExxonMobil has given deaf ears to dialogue.”
“The oil spill that happened is not a hidden thing. The Area Commander and his Divisional Police Officers were here earlier. The representative of the Ministry of Environment, the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources and his team alongside the Transition Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Council were equally here to assess the situation. We are yet to see anybody from the ExxonMobil side. Information reaching us is that ExxonMobil is saying the oil spillage is not from them. We are saying, because we know they are the only oil company operating within our area, they should arrest the situation first before denying ownership of the spillage. We are on a peaceful demonstration and we will not leave until we get very positive response from them,” he explained.
Confirming the incident, the State Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum Resources, Mr. Orman Esin, who led a team from his Ministry said he saw samples of spillage on the shorelines of the affected communities.
He said, “I led a team from the Ministry of Transport and Petroleum Resources to Ibeno Local Government Area. I met the youths who were demonstrating their grievances peacefully just to bring the attention of government and that of ExxonMobil to the spillage. I later moved with the youths to locations where the spillage was noticed and I actually saw sample of the spillage and I further appealed to them to remain calm and allow the people that will investigate the situation to do so to enable know exactly where the spilled oil came from.”
“Basically, the people of the communities were also expressing their feelings towards the company because nobody from ExxonMobil has come to talk to them in terms of trying to cushion the issue. I have spoken with the company to see how we can resolve the situation. I also went to the Paramount Ruler, Owong Effiong Archianga, who also aired his grievances and all that. The bottom line is that we must continue to pacify the youths for the community to be peaceful,” he said.
Mr. Esin said government will do all it takes to resolve the situation, according to him, “As government, we will make sure areas that need to be addressed are addressed and resolved amicably and if there is anything that might make the youths feel they are not being carried along, I think ExxonMobil, as a responsible corporate organization, should look into their plights and see how they can have a very good relationship with the community to enable them carry out their operation in a peaceful atmosphere.”
Reacting to the development, ExxonMobil’s Manager, Media and Communications, Mr. Ogechukwu Udeagha, said the claim of oil spillage from the establishment’s facility by the community was false and unconfirmed.
According to Mr. Udeagha, “the Company confirms that no oil was spilled from any of its facilities. Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) remains committed to providing environmentally safe operations and ensuring that the health and environment of our neighboring communities are protected.”

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