Communities protest alleged diversion of $16bn compensation for oil spill

10 March 2015, Lagos – Following an allegation of diversion of $16 billion paid as  compensation by American multinational oil company, Exxon Mobil, for a 1998 oil spill, hundreds of youths from oil producing communities of the Niger Delta region Tuesday disrupted vehicular movements along the Bayelsa state axis of the East-West road.

The action of the youth disrupted commercial activities at the ever busy Mbiama market which holds every Tuesday while traffic activities along the road was at a standstill for several hours even as men of the Nigerian Army and the police dialogued with the aggrieved people.

The aggrieved people who claimed to be representing over 87 communities from Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Cross Rivers and Ondo cried that after 15 years of agitating for the payment of the compensation to the impacted communities, so persons have allegedly diverted the money.

The placard wielding youths accused a political and community leader from Bayelsa state of being the arrow head of the diversion plan.

Some of the placards had inscriptions such as “Stop using our money to sponsors political parties”, “Exxon Mobil: All we need is our money since 1998″, “Exxon Mobil: Refuse to pay our money: face war”.

In statement read on their behalf by Comrade Godwin Roberts (MOSEIND) and signed by Charles Opukiri (ISMOND), Elfreda Olungue (IYC) and Comrade Eddyo Engman they accused the Attorney that handled the case of secretly collecting the compensation and refusing to pay the impacted communities.

They also claimed that the accused Attorney is suspected to have diverted the compensation to personal use and sponsorship of some politicians.


– This Day

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