Port Harcourt — Protesting ex-worker of ExxonMobil in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, has alleged that the operations of the oil exploration and producing company has polluted the land, air and creeks of the area.
A total of 1,444 disengaged workers of the company called on relevant stakeholders to prevail on the company for the payment of their terminal benefits of N11.4 billion, else they will take the laws into their hands.
The affected ex-workers, speaking in their local Ekid dialect during a peaceful demonstration in Eket, accused the oil company of violating their rights and inflicting pains and hardship on them by denying them their N11.4 billion entitlements.
One of the protesters, identified as Akan Tommy, said they can no longer engaged in fishing and farming because of the pollution from ExxonMobil operations in the area.
“ExxonMobil operations have left our lands, air and creeks polluted, our traditional occupations like fishing and farming is no longer sustainable. We need relevant stakeholders to prevail on ExxonMobil to pay us our entitlement,” he said.
Tommy explained that they were engaged as contract staff by ExxonMobil and later laid off in 2012 without commensurate severance benefits, as contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which they had with the company.
He disclosed that the aggrieved ex-workers had sent several letters to President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over the matter, stating that while Vice President acknowledged receipt of the letter and assured of meeting with the management of ExxonMobil, he never got back to them.
“We have written to the United States, the National Assembly, the Presidency to no avail. So we are calling on leaders who have been at the forefront fighting against inhumanity against the region,” he added.
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