Sunday, 15 November 2020

ExxonMobil Has Cut Short Life Expectancy Of Our People..Akwa Ibom Oil Rich Community


An indigene of oil rich Ibeno community in Akwa Ibom State has given gory details of what his people ho through in the hands of Pol giant ExxonMobil 

Read him

"This is Exxonmobil. Right in the heart of Ibeno, my village. These thick bellows of smoke constantly eddy out into my village. Day and night. Never ceasing. Like hellfire . Because it is hellfire!

This has been circling my village since I was a child. Thick, black carbon. It forms the air we breathe. It drops into our streams, most of which are semi stagnant. And, oh, I drank stream water growing up. My people still drink stream water. I remember a girl while growing up. She had a gash which turned into a sore that never went away. She wore a bandage which showed the sore as it smeared through. She would be the first to come to the stream every morning. We drank the droplets from her ancient wound. She was our crucible. We hated the witch who punished us with her. Please don't laugh.

Our corrugated roofs are not spared by this extremely dangerous carbon. Within three years, your brand new roof becomes rusty, and not long afterwards, they rot out. In Ibeno, your father's Swan Brand zinc roof must leak during your growing days. And this is in a land where poverty is our second nature. 

Exxonmobil produces light from its turbines. They could give light to the whole of Akwa Ibom State, if they wanted, but they can't even spare any for my community. Exxonmobil treats and recycles water from the ocean. It would have been nothing, it is actually nothing to them to give water in the community, but they do not! Worse than the stagnant streams is that our waters are either saline or oily.

My people have very short lifespan. Few in my community live beyond 60. They breathe in air filled with carbon everyday. I just read a beautiful but touching story of a woman who is 90 from a friend's Facebook wall. She is strong and healthy at 90. In my village people don't live to be 90. How can they?

The level of degradation in my entire community is unimaginable. The rate of spillage is alarming. Exxonmobil controls most of the east area. When there's oil spill they will deny it. The ocean, our almost only source of livelihood, is degraded. Effluent and other exploration demons affect aquatic lives. Fishermen are impoverished as a result. Yet, nothing comes from Exxonmobil to the people.

As at today, there is no MOU between Exxonmobil and my community as envisaged by the Oil and Gas Content Development Act, 2010. Contracts are packaged from Lagos, signed, sealed and delivered to either strangers from outside Ibeno and  Akwa Ibom State or foreign companies. Youth Corpers from Lagos will serve along with others in Exxonmobil, QIT. After the service year, the other Youth Corpers will leave along with the one from Lagos. One year later, the Lagos Corper will return to my community as an Exxonmobil staff. Year after year, this is what goes on in my village.

Exxonmobil is the highest contributor to the revenue of the federal government of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State,  but nothing in Ibeno reflects such stupendous wealth, only abject poverty. Year in year out, they tell you that the Oil price is low. They tell you that they don't sell oil, that they give oil out for free. But every sinngle month, it is their money that forms the revenue base of the government.

A Mobil staff told me in a meeting the other day that they have a health centre in Ibeno. Next week I will post pictures of the health centre that Mobil boasts about.

By Diamond Akpanika

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