Following the non recognition of Oron, Udung Uko, Mbo, Okobo, Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State as oil producing communities and catchment areas, a Parliamentarian from Oro nation has brought the gross marginalisation against the area to the floor of the House by way of motion, last Thursday.
The motion was brought to the House by Member, representing Mbo State Constituency, Hon. (Chief) Effiong Johnson.
Presenting the motion, the Mbo Lawmaker disclosed that about six years ago, the area experienced oil spill and compensation was paid to the five affected Local Government Areas while Mobil empowered some persons to purchase fishing nets, he questioned why compensation and empowerment was given to people in the areas if they are not within the oil producing and catchment area as claimed.
He recalled a case that took place six years ago; “there was oil spill, if it did not affect Mbo, Oron and the rest, why did they pay that compensation money to all the five communities. Mobil even gave money for people to buy fishing nets to replace what they have.
“I am going to carry the fight because my people are suffering. A month ago at Uyenghe, people were fighting and destroying houses because of this company, Universal Energy. You can not drive from Ewun to Uyenghe which is a five minutes drive. What suppose to be five minutes drive takes you one hour due to bad roads.
Hon. Johnson itemised Oil Companies effectively operating in the five Local Government Areas of Oron communities to include; ExxonMobil; Total; Addax Petroleum; Moni Polu; Oriental Energy Resources Limited; Associated Oil and Gas Limited; Universal Energy Resources Ltd; Septa Energy Nigeria Ltd; and Amalgamated Oil Company Nigeria Ltd.
Disclosing that he decided to bring up the matter before the House to avert further peaceful demonstrations by the five Local Government Areas of Oro Communities that took place two weeks ago, the Lawmaker prayed Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to give effect to the National Assembly resolution which recognised these five Local Government Areas of Oro communities as oil producing communities, according to the report of the joint committees that was considered by the National Assembly and communicated to the presidency accordingly in 2012.
The Mbo representative informed that the aged-long agitation dates back to the commencement of oil exploration in Oron communities many years ago with the attendant environmental degradation and health hazards which the people have suffered.
He also prayed that the Governor should set up a committee to work jointly with the House Committee on Petroleum; and that of Environment to enumerate Petroleum host and impacted communities in the State and send the report to the House as a workable tool to enable house set a legislative machinery on motion to capture these communities so they can also access benefits as oil producing areas.
Also making component of his prayers is Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), so that host communities can be equated with the right development index to suit international best practices, as well as Appropriate Ministries and Agencies are to closely monitor the activities of these oil companies.
However, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey in a unanimous decision of the House committed the matter to the House Committee on Petroleum; and that of Environment for further investigation to report back to the house within one month interval.
Shortly after the plenary session of the House, the Mbo lawmaker interfaced with select members of Assembly Press Corps and throw more light on the motion and need for Government to expedite action for recognition of Oro Nation as one of the oil producing areas in the State.