26 November 2015, Lagos – Hundreds of youths from the Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, have protested against the paramount ruler of the community, Edidem Akpabio Ukpa over oil spill compensation, which had allegedly been paid to the ruler by an oil company.
The protesters, who converged on the ruler’s palace, said the compensation belonged to them and not the ruler.
They said when they discovered that their area had been affected by the spill, they presented the issue before Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited for compensation.
Leader of the protest, Mr. Sam Akpan, lamented that Ibeno, Esit Eket, and Eket local government areas which followed the same procedures, had been paid their compensation.
He explained that when the first compensation was paid, the youths gave the N960m to Ukpa. He added that the paramount ruler together with members of his council and a few other people spent the money without giving the youths their share.
According to him, when the youths asked Edidem Ukpa and members of his council about the money, they asked them to be patient until the last set of compensation was paid.
“Last year, Mobil had little problem with the community based on oil spill. We selected people to confirm the areas where the spill occurred. They did and brought the report which we presented to Mobil for possible compensation.
“When the first compensation of N960m was paid, we took it to our paramount ruler. When we later asked them for our share of the money, they asked us to wait for next one. When the next one came, they asked us to wait for the third one.
“This is the third one; we need our own share now, we cannot leave this place. His wife and the Divisional Police Officer had addressed us on the issue. We told them that the only thing that would make us leave the paramount ruler’s premises is for our own share of the money to be given to us,” he said.
Attempts to speak with Ukpa on the issue proved abortive as he did not answer calls put across to his telephone. He also did not respond to a text message that was sent to his phone.