ExxonMobil Contractors from Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of Joint Core Contractors Initiative (CCI) has given the American oil giant, 21 days ultimatum to implement the local contents law, 2010, or face mass protest that would shut its operations for weeks.
The contractors made their plans known when its executive members led by Chief Friday Ebong, paid a courtesy call on the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs and Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, His Royal Majesty, Effiong B. Archianga at his palace.
The contractors lampooned Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, operators of the MPN\ NNPC Joint Ventures and other contract firms for neglecting the local contractors over the years in the award of contracts, disclosing that “only peanut jobs such as grass-cutting are given to us, while juicy contracts are given, on weaver, to contractors from other parts of the country,despite the fact that Akwa Ibom have competent and qualified contractors”.
The situation, according to Chief Ebong, “is an affront on the sensibilities of Akwa Ibom people in whose land the wealth of the nation is produced”, adding that “Mobil is known to have implemented the Local Contents Law of the Federation in places like Bonny, Lagos and Warri, while disobeying the Law in Akwa Ibom State”.
“We have presented a comprehensive list of all contractors from Akwa Ibom State registered with Mobil, for easy identification and award of certain contracts stipulated by the Nigerian Local Contents Law of 2010 but it seems the company is not ready to patronize Local Contractors despite the fact that we have enough qualified and competent contractors to handle all sort of contracts”, the spokesperson said.
Chief Ebong argued further that the Core Community Contractors have implored peaceful approach with the company to make them see reason why they should also be awarded major contracts but to no avail.
“We have exhausted all avenues of peaceful negotiations with Mobil and they seem only to recognize violent communities such as Bonny, we are peace loving people but if by the end of November 2015 Mobil does not implement the Nigerian Local Content Law, we will be left with no option but to instigate a sympathy protest that will shut down its operations in Akwa Ibom State for weeks”, Chief Friday said.
He alleged that most of the contractors from other States who benefits from major contracts from the company do not pay tax to Akwa Ibom State government and that Mobil’s action is an affront on the Federal government and Akwa Ibom State.
Responding, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno and Chairman Akwa Ibom Council of Chiefs, His Royal Majesty Owong Effiong Bassey Archianga, represented by Obong Ita Ndem called on the contractors to exercise patience adding that the royal institution in the State will discuss the issue with a view of letting the company see reasons in patronizing Local Contractors.
Those who attended the courtesy visit includes, Chief Okon Bassey Archianga, Hon. Billy Ikpongette, Samuel Akwa, Ime Ekpuk, Victor Nyuwem, Samuel Umoffia, Hon. Okon Edukere, Trust Ekpo, Respect Bassey Okon, Obong Aniefiok Eno, Ime Edet, James Johnson, Clement Edem, Elder Michael Peter and Vincent Edet among others.
-Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo