ORO COMMUNITIES RISE AGAINST EXCLUSION AS OIL PRODUCING AREAS

ORO COMMUNITIES RISE AGAINST EXCLUSION AS OIL PRODUCING AREAS

Enwono-Abasi Elisha

The Oro Communities of Akwa Ibom State have continued to engage in their agitation for inclusion and recognition as oil producing communities and catchment areas.

This was the crux of the motion raised by Member representing Mbo State Constituency in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon. Effiong Johnson, yesterday.

Raising the motion tagged, ‘Non-inclusion and Non-recognition of Oro communities as Oil Producing communities and catchment areas of Akwa Ibom State,’ Hon. Johnson said that the five LGAs in Oro nation have not been recognised as oil producing communities despite the attendant effect of oil exploration in these areas.

These communities include; Oron, Udung Uko, Mbo, Okobo, Urue Offong/Oruko LGAs.

According to the lawmaker, “I decided to bring this matter up, because two weeks ago, Oron, community comprising of the five Local Government Areas had to go on a peaceful demonstration.

“About 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.

He further mentioned the oil companies operating in the five LGAs of Oro 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.

The 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.

It is recalled in 2012, House of Representative Member, Hon. Robinson Bassey presented the matter of non-inclusion and non-recognition of Oro communities as oil producing communities before the National Assembly which a delegation was sent to the State to ascertain the condition.

The report of the joint committee was considered by the National Assembly and communicated to the presidency accordingly.

It is in the same vein that the Member representing Mbo, Hon. Effiong Johnson in the motion prayed the Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to give effect to the National Assemble resolution which recognised these five LGAs of Oro communities as oil producing communities.

Also, 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.

Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is also the prayer of the motion, so host communities can be equated with the right development index to suit international best practices.

Appropriate Ministries and Agencies are to closely monitor the activities of these oil companies.

Meanwhile, the House presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey committed the matter to the House Committee on Petroleum; and that of Environment for further investigation and report to the house in a period of one month.

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