Angered by the delay in payment of compensation to Eket, which was affected by an oil spill in 2011, the youths from Eket Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom last Thursday barricaded the gates of Mobil Airstrip and Housing Estate and paralysed activities at the facilities.
The youths numbering over 100 carried placards with inscriptions “ExxonMobil Release our Money’, ‘ExxonMobil Enough is Enough’, ‘Ibeno, Esit Eket and Onna have been paid why Eket?’, ‘We will not leave until our money is paid’ among others.
The protesters barricaded the entrance of the airstrip with plant suckers and traditional injunctions to prevent staff and visitors from entering or going out of the premises.
The Eket Youth Leader, Mr. Godwin Nduaesa told Niger Delta Voice that their action became necessary because the three core oil communities of Ibeno, Onna and Esit-Eket had been paid their oil spill palliatives since 2015 while Eket was left out.
“The youths are going to remain here until the money for Eket community is released,” Nduaesa stated.
He noted that for several months, Mobil has been deceiving their paramount ruler with promises that the money would be released without any precise the date.
“We cannot continue to allow such an affront to the sensibility of our paramount ruler and the people of Eket,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr. Donatus Samuel, Community Leader from Okopedi, where Mobil airstrip is located, said the sum of N1.17 Billion was expected to be paid by ExxonMobil to the Eket community.
Meanwhile, the authorities of ExxonMobil could not be reached for comment as the youths did not allow anybody access into the premises even as those who could be contacted on telephone referred NDV to headquarters of the company in Lagos.