The Akwa Ibom state government has expressed strong opposition to the alleged move by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited to relocate its operational base from Ibeno, in the state to Lagos, saying that it will not tolerate the exploitation and harnessing of the state natural resources elsewhere. The state governor, Chief Godswill, Akpabio, stated this when he played host to members of a socio-cultural group Afigh lwaad Ekid, which took its protests against the move to Government House Uyo, recently. The group is based in Eket.
Vowing that he would ensure that the peoples’ right will not be taken away to another place, the governor said “We have a right to benefit from oil exploration and as such nobody can come and exploit the resources from the state and take such to elsewhere”.
The visibly angry governor told the protesters that he had met with top executives of the oil production giants and that he had been assured that it was not true that the company was relocating.
“If it is true that having put in place the security measures, including the Joint Task Force, Mobil has relocated, then there is a political agenda. it means somebody is trying to deny the state of its resources and the people of this state would not accept it,” he declared, even as he explained that the state government had done its best to provide security for everyone in the state.
“Government has done its best in terms of security, particularly by deploying three bullet-proof gunboats to the state water- front to contend any incursion by militants”, he added. Commending the youths of the state for being peaceful in their demands for better deal from oil companies, the governor specifically thanked Eket youths for their peaceful disposition, but cautioned that this disposition should not be taken for granted. “People should not take the peaceful disposition of the youths as a sign of weakness because if Afigh Iwaad Ekid were to be violent like other Niger Delta groups, not only Mobil but also Akwa Ibom people would know no peace2, he observed.
Earlier, the President-General of Afigh Iwaad Ekid, Obong Ibanga Etang, confirmed the relocation saying that some sensitive departments like: Procurement, Marine Service, Maintenance, and Field ‘Human Resource, have already been moved.
“It has been confirmed and we have incontrovertible evidence that several departments have already been relocated in what is to be a two-year relocation secret agenda of Mobil. Departments already relocated whose staffers have been directed to report at Lagos