Angry youths in Akwa Ibom protest, block East-West Road



Angry youths in Akwa Ibom protest, block East-West Road

Youths of Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, on Thursday, blocked the East-West road in protest of their alleged exclusion from the draft report of Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, for Utapate OML13 oil and gas exploration project which was submitted to the Federal Ministry of Environment by Nigeria Petroleum Development Commission, NPDC.

It was gathered that at about 6am, the protesters had occupied the federal highway, barring any movement from both ends of the road which leads from Eket to Ikot Abasi, Rivers state and other parts of the Niger Delta region.

Addressing the protesters, Comrade Ini Ekanem the Chairman of Mkpat Enin Oil and Gas host communities said youths of the area and people of Mkpat Enin host communities have vowed to use all legal means including protest to resist attempts by NPDC, SPDC to shortchange them.

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He regretted that the NPDC published an EIA and called for public hearing without the inclusion of Mkpat Enin, which according to him has been sent to the Federal Government awaiting public hearing.

“The company had neglected Mkpat Enin community in the process of drafting its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) also refused to go into a Global Memorandum of Understanding with Mkpat Enin host communities in the OML-13 project.

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“Why are we shortchanged after the NPDC’s representative promised stakeholders of Mkpat Enin LGA that the area was covered in their EIA study On OML /OPL-13?” he queried.

Also speaking during the protest, the Chairman of National Youth Council, Mkpat Enin Chapter Comr. Emem Alex accused the company of using divide and rule tactics to cause problems in the area, insisting that the firm must carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment and respect all their rights.

He said that several letters had been written and meetings held to compel the NPDC to give Mkpat Enin equal treatment as the host community of the project but to no avail, adding that the protest was aimed at compelling the oil exploration company to follow due process in their bid to commence operations in the field.

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The OML13 project is currently being carried out by Sterling Exploration and Energy Production Company Ltd. (SEEPCO), an Indian firm that signed a 15-year Financing and Technical Services Agreement between NNPC, Nigeria’s state-run oil and gas firm and NNPC’s E&P unit, NPDC. The agreement is for the development of OML-13 which is 100 percent owned by NPDC.



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