To resolve the lingering tension between ExxonMobil and its host communities, Akwa Ibom State Govern-ment has set up a committee to work out a Memorandum of Under-standing, MoU, between the two parties.
State Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who announced this after a meeting between top management staff of ExxonMobil and leaders of the host communities in Government House, Uyo, explained that a new MoU was necessary as the old one signed in 1998 could no longer stand the test of time.
He said the committee, chaired by the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Godwin Afangideh, has four weeks to come up with an acceptable MoU that will address the issues discussed at the meeting, particularly the yearnings and aspirations of the host communities within the capabilities of ExxonMobil.
Ekere named other members of the commi-ttee as Senator Etang Umoyo, Prof. Etie Ben Akpan, Mr. Charles Inyang and Mr. Enobong Etteh, representing Esit Eket, Eket, Onna and Ibeno local councils, as well as the state Attorney-General and Commi-ssioner for Justice, Chief Assam Assam SAN.
Others are Chief Effiong Achianga and Barrister Bassey Nkanang, repre-senting traditional rulers and youths, respectively. Prince Enobong Uwah, the State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, is to serve as the secretary.
ExxonMobil is to nominate its representatives to the committee.
The Deputy Governor, who described the meeting as a fresh start for both sides, stated government’s commit-ment to the peaceful resolution of the issues canvassed at the meeting and urged the stakeholders to cooperate with the committee in the interest of all.
Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil, Mr. Mark Ward, who led the compa-ny’s delegation to the meeting, said ExxonMobil was committed to ensuring a peaceful and harmonious relationship with the host communities.
He thanked the state government for facilitating the meeting which, according to him, has paved way for resolving the issues at stake.