Youths from the core oil-producing areas of Akwa Ibom State have staged a protest in Eket, about 15 kilometres from Uyo the state capital.
The youths who are protesting against high unemployment, contract staff policy, and the completion of the Eket-Ibeno which leads to the operational base of ExxonMobil also demanded the provision of basic amenities from both the state government and the oil company.
Speaking, the Assistant Secretary of Host Community Youth Assembly, Ubong Assam said they refused to participate in the #ENDSARS protest as there were pressing issues in the area.
He noted that the Eket Federal Constituency has been the most peaceful host community adding that their peaceful disposition shouldn’t be taken for granted as they will resort to other means of their demands that are not met.
The youths carried placards with various inscriptions including: “We need electricity supply in our community,” ” Resuscitate our cottage hospital,” “We need good water in our community”, “ExxonMobil clean your environment,” “Our fishermen are suffering because of piracy,” among others.
Speaking, the youth leader in Ibeno, Christopher Itia, said that the youths were aggrieved due to alleged marginalisation of the state government and ExxonMobil.
“We are the host community but they are not treating us fair if we are part of them, the multinational oil company has terminated the appointment of over 500 contract staff in Ibeno alone.
Itia decried the absence of good portable water and electricity in Ibeno community despite being the host community.
“ExxonMobil is here, we don’t have portable water, no electricity, and we are the host community. Ibeno supposed to be a heaven on earth.
The spokesman called on Governor Udom Emmanuel to complete Eket/Ibeno road which had been inaugurated without completion.
He decried that sea piracy had stopped fishermen from fishing, saying that last week, sea pirates stole four outboard engines from fishermen in the area.
He lamented that the only cottage hospital in Ibeno was nothing to write about, saying that no doctors, no nurse, and no facility to treat patients.
“We are pleading with Gov. Emmanuel and Federal Government to step into the matter and help Ibeno community.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong denied the allegation of marginalisation saying, saying that every local government is represented by youths caucus.
He noted that the state government would give out jobs to youths of Akwa Ibom, saying that there are opportunities for engagement with the state government.
He said that there are plans by the state government to give out inter-ministerial jobs to youths which would include the renovation of schools and health facilities as well as the construction of new ones.