The head of Idung Udoette Oniok in Edo group of villages in Esit Eket Local Government of Akwa Ibom State, Prince Henry Abia, has accused an oil company of attempting to kill him and his subjects.
The monarch alleged the firm was recruiting a notorious gang to carry out the act because of his stance against its insensitivity and injustice to his people and community.
Abia, in a statement yesterday, accused the company of funding the group and using to harass innocent people whenever there were contending issues between it and its host communities.
The monarch noted that the relationship degenerated in 2016 when an oil spill was discovered. Since then, there have been clashes between the firm and host communities.
Abia said a recent clash occurred when the company acquired land for right-of-way for its gas pipeline and failed to pay compensation.
He said farms, fish ponds and others were destroyed, saying when the people complained, the company recruited thugs to terrorise the community.
The monarch called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency to address activities of the cultists.
“The statement reads: “There was oil spill sometime in 2016 in Edo, Esit Eket council. The company denied until it was taken to the Senate before it accepted to pay compensation, which it is yet to do.
“Recently, the company acquired lands for right-of-way for gas pipeline. Many people had farm lands, fish ponds, sanctum, and mills along the right-of-way; the company has not compensated them, and sensing that the people were unhappy, it recruited, trained and empowered cultists to terrorise whoever will complain. By so doing, the people are exposed to threats and other attacks causing them sleepless nights.”
Abia recalled that on December 9 when the people protested, the company allegedly unleashed thugs on them and security agents drafted to maintain peace.
He said they broke into his palace and destroyed property worth millions of naira.
But the company’s spokesman, Sam Atara, described the allegations as unfounded and false.
He said: “we are a corporate organisation with a subsisting Memorandum of Understanding with its host communities. The allegations are unfounded and false and are spearheaded by one or two members of the community. Disregard these as untruth.”
Source: The Nation