Community threatens ExxonMobil operation over oil spill clean-up

*Oil spill impacted shoreline.

*Oil spill impacted shoreline.

12 June 2016, Uyo — One of the host to ExxonMobil oil facilities in Akwa Ibom State, the Ibeno community has given the oil major one-week ultimatum to clean up the latest oil spill alleged from its facility or faced sanctioned in the area.

Also, the inability or refusal by ExxonMobil to disclose the actual quantity of oil spill allegedly recorded from its installation at Ibeno recently has raised dust when Joint Inspection Team (JIT) of stakeholders visited the site of the spill weekend.

The Akwa Ibom State Government had in a meeting held June 1, 2016, ordered the JIT comprising representatives from Ibeno community, ExxonMobil, Depthwize Nigeria Limited, NOSDRA and other stakeholders to investigate the latest oil spill reported in the area and the clean-up procedures.

Issuing the ultimatum for the clean-up, a representative of the Ibeno community in the team, Chief Okon Udofia, expressed displeasure over the exercise describing it as inconclusive.

Udifua who bared his mind to reporters at the end of touring the oil spill site said the exercise was inconclusive because ExxobMobil could not give the quantity of barrels of crude oil spilled to the coastal region of Ibeno communities.

He alleged that the oil giant tactically refused to disclose the quantity of barrels of crude lost during the oil spill in the area hence since the barrels of oil was not determined the visit was as inconclusive.

According to him, the tasks before the JIT were among other things to determine the source of the spill, the volume of crude that spill and the areas that were impacted by the oil spill.

“The barrels of oil spilled were another controversy, based on production data’s that will be giving to us by ExxonMobil to determine the cause of volume of oil but was not done.

“We were able to determine the area where the oil spill impacted; ExxonMobil was supposed to commence clean-up but up till now nothing had been done,’’ Udofia said.

He said during the inspection the sample and evidence of the communities impacted were marked out by the team for possible clean-up.

“We have sample and evidence of all the areas where oil spill impacted, we were able to mark out areas that were impacted for possible clean-up by ExxonMobil but nothing happened”, he stressed.

He maintained that the concerned of the impacted communities were for the environment to be remediated by the oil giant.

The State Director of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Enyi Udeogu declined to comment on the JIT visit saying “you are not my boss, I will talk to my boss, the outcome of the meeting, I am sorry I cannot help you”.

On his part, the Manager, Media and Communications of ExxonMobil, Mr. Ogechukwu Udeagha said the team was raised to oversee the clean-up of the damaged beach caused by the Depthwize Drilling Rig Monarch.
*Okon Bassey – Thisday

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