6 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Uyo – To resolve the lingering tension between ExxonMobil and its host communities, Akwa Ibom State Government has set up a committee to fashion out a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties.
State deputy governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who announced this after a meeting between top management staff of ExxonMobil and leaders of the host communities in Government House, Uyo, explained that a new MoU was necessary as the old one signed in 1998 could no longer stand the test of time.
He said the committee, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, has four weeks to come up with an acceptable MoU that will address the issues discussed at the meeting, particularly the yearnings and aspirations of the host communities within the capabilities of ExxonMobil.
Ekere named other members of the committee as Senator Etang Umoyo, Prof. Etie Ben Akpan, Mr. Charles
Inyang and Mr. Enobong Etteh, representing Esit Eket, Eket, Onna and Ibeno local councils, as well as the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Assam Assam.
Others are Chief Effiong Achianga and Barrister Bassey Nkanang, representing traditional rulers and youths, respectively. Prince Enobong Uwah, the State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, is to serve as the secretary.
ExxonMobil is to nominate its representatives to the committee.
The deputy governor, who described the meeting as a fresh start for both sides, stated government’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of the issues canvassed at the meeting and urged the stakeholders to cooperate with the committee in the interest of all.
Chairman and managing drector of ExxonMobil, Mr. Mark Ward, who led the company’s delegation to the meeting, said ExxonMobil was committed to ensuring a peaceful and harmonious relationship with the host communities.
He thanked the state government for facilitating the meeting which, according to him, has paved way for resolving the issues at stake.