12 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – A group known as Movement For Relocation of ExxonMobil Headquarters to Akwa Ibom State has launched an online petition against ExxonMobil to relocate its headoffice to Akwa Ibom State.
Earlier this year, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, had, during his visit to Akwa Ibom, made a pronouncement for major oil companies operating in the country to relocate their headquarters to their respective states of operation.
The campaign with the hashtag #RelocateExxonMobilHQ started on Saturday July 1, 2017, and has thousands of people across the world who have already signed up the petition.
Initiator and convener of the petition, Mr. Uduak Inwang, urged all indigenes of Akwa Ibom State, young and old, to rise up and join the agitation for the relocation of Mobil headquarters to Akwa Ibom.
Inwang, speaking on the telephone to our correspondent, said a big online campaign would be launched on July 11, 2017 – the International Day of Action Against ExxonMobil, coined by Friends of the Earth in 2001, during a march against Exxonmobil failure to reduce greenhouse gas emission in Aston, Australia as well as the companies’ human right abuses in North Aceh, Indonesia.
Inwang said the primary aim of the movement in Nigeria was to have the ExxonMobil headoffice relocated to Akwa Ibom State.
He explained that as part of steps to ensure adequate information to facilitate the campaign, a reach-out committee has been set with majority of the members selected from oil producing areas.
The petitioner further said the committee was mandated with the duties of approaching leaders at all levels and aspects of the society; approaching ExxonMobil management, the community, and the Lagos office of the firm; as well as approaching the State House of Assembly Committee currently handling the ExxonMobil case.
“One may want to ask why the much agitation for exploiting oil firms to relocate their headquarters to host states. The answer in one sentence is that the firms owe their hosts the corporate-social responsibility of contributing to their development and ensuring or, at least, contributing to their welfare, especially where it concerns the immediate communities where the acts of exploration are done.
“ExxonMobil is one of the IOCs having its operational base in Akwa Ibom State with its administrative office not accessible by Akwa Ibom people.
“Their effect on the community which they operate is not felt because they are operating without an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Akwa Ibom State,” he said.