Youths Protest Disrupts Mobil Operations

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UYO, Sept 01, (THEWILL) - Core Oil Producing territory in Akwa Ibom State, the Ibeno community has sealed off the office of Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) an affiliate of America Oil firm, the ExxonMobil as workers were bared from going into the office.

THEWILL gathered that protest nearly resulted into a bloody confrontation as soldiers were drafted to the scene which lasted for 24 hours.

Youths from the community armed with dangerous weapons reportedly barricaded the road leading to the tank farms of MPN at the Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT), demanding payment of N14 billion naira following series of oil spills from Mobil pipelines.

The demonstration by the youths caused a stir amongst residents and visitors as they blocked the road, chanted war songs and displayed placards with inscriptions; "fishermen and farmers have the right to live", "Mobil pay compensation money to farmers", "We don’t want problems, enough of our suffering", Please preserve our environmental among others.

The community lamented that with the suffering as a result of the Mobil oil spills, the oil giant had rejected all requests on the need to pay them adequate compensation to cushion the effect.

Sources said the protest became necessary as the community had written to the MPN which is an affiliate of American oil firm, the ExxonMobil to do something on the incessant oil spills in the area.

According to the source, without the protest, Mobil which is into a Joint venture with NNPC, the Akwa Ibom State government and other interested parties would not have taken them serious on the matter.

The community said with the spate of oil spills in the area, the condition of living of the people have continued to deteriorate by the day as they are predominant fishermen and farmers.

A source in the community, who simple wanted to be identified as Sampson Essien said, fish net, hooks, farmlands and crops have been destroyed due to the effect of oil spills from the facilities of Mobil.

"Life is difficult as our means of livelihood is suffering by the day. Poverty is gradually taking its toll on Ibeno indigenes and residents", he declared.

THEWILL gathered that the N14 billion cash demanded by the Ibeno people is for the four local government areas that are hosts of Mobil facilities.

The community agued that oil which is a blessing to Nigeria is a curse to the residents of the host communities after more than four decades of oil exploration and exploitation.

The management of Mobil Producing Nigeria confirmed the protest saying normal work has resumed at the QIT, operation base of the oil firm admitting further that the youths and fishermen were agitating for payment of compensation over oil spill incident.