Community in Akwa Ibom issues oil firm 14-day ultimatum

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By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
Unyenge community in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has given Universal Energy Resources Limited (UERL) a 14-day ultimatum to quit its land or risk the community wrath.
In a document made available to New Nigerian in Uyo on Tuesday, the community stated that the ultimatum followed UERL’s breach of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which resulted in neglect, marginalisation, violation of the rights and privileges of the community in terms of employment and youth empowerment.
According to the ultimatum notice, the company had refused to reply many letters the community had sent to the company saying that such action could be construed as the UERL underrating its host community as to what they could do.
A representative of the Council of Chiefs in Unyenge, Mr. Edet Edietteh, urged that in order for the company to remain in Unyenge, it must as a matter of urgency implement the 2014/2015 community development projects that were due since March 2015.
These projects according to Mr. Edietteh include youth empowerment, students’ bursary, women empowerment and construction of principal quarters at Unyenge Community Comprehensive Secondary School and confirmation of appointment of Mr. Anthony Esin who has been working in the company as a contract staff since 2012.
“In spite of several diplomatic requests for the confirmation of Mr. Anthony Esin’s appointment by Unyenge Community, UERL has over the years failed to honour our plea.
“That UERL should urgently award the ‘Right of Way’ contract to the recommended contractor, Unyenge Global Services. The delay in the award of this contract has caused so much restiveness among the youths of the area,” he said.
He noted that Unyenge community and UERL had mutually agreed for employment of four indigenes from Unyenge to work with the company.
He revealed that one of those employed in the person of Mr. Nkereuwem Michael was reportedly dismissed by UERL without appropriate replacement for a year now.
He said, “We hereby request that the UERL should employ another indigene of Unyenge to replace the purportedly sacked Mr. Michael from the community based vacant position.”
Project Manager, UERL, Mr. Steve Okoko, in his response said that the company would look into the issues raised by the community with a view to resolving them amicably adding that the company was constrained due to the short fall in their resources arising by the dwindling oil prices in the global market.
He assured the community that most of their complaints especially salary of teachers in Unyenge Community Secondary School would be met before the ultimatum expires and called for peace.

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