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ExxonMobil, NYIF rift deepens as 30-day ultimatum begins over non-employment

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Avoidable shutdown of ExxonMobil operations in Akwa Ibom may be underway in 30 days period if the international oil company fails to heed to the demands of the Nigerian Youth Initiative Forum (NYIF), over the alleged stoppage of giving contracts to host indigenes.

NYIF is an amalgamation of youths in Akwa Ibom, the operational headquarters of the oil giant in Nigeria.

Business Hilights recalls that ExxonMobil Nigeria remains the only oil major that has its head office in oil producing region of the country even before the presidential directive to IOCs to relocate their operational head offices to the oil states.

However, in a letter addressed to the Chairman and Managing Director of ExxonMobil Nigeria, NYIF gave an indication to block the strategic Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) Road and the Mobil airstrip should the company ignore its demand on expiration of the ultimatum.

In the letter signed by the forum’s chairman from in Eket, Comrade Sammy Bassey and his secretary, Comrade Godwin Edwards, NYIF claimed among others that “About 400 qualified seafarers and cadet officers from the catchment area have been denied employment by 42 marine and services companies working for ExxonMobil”.

“ExxonMobil should not only employ qualified indigenes into its marine department but also direct all marine contractors to source their workforce from seafarers and crewmen from the catchment area.”

One of the key issues raised by the group was that many contracting firms to ExxonMobil had not executed any community development projects in the catchment area since 2007, saying “The gross neglect and insensitivity of contracting firms working for ExxonMobil has denied job opportunities to over 10, 000 youths in the catchment area.

“Companies working for ExxonMobil have violated the Akwa Ibom Oil Companies and Vessel law 2007 and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010.

“The contracting firms are also in breach of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007, the Merchant Shipping Act 2003, the Inland and Coastal (Cabotage) Shipping Act 2003 and the ExxonMobil Community Labour Relations Guideline 2007,” the letter read.

Whereas it would be recalled that towards the end of 2017, youths in Akwa Ibom had dropped an empty coffin chanting war songs at the gate of one of the key residential estates for staff of the oil company in demonstration of anger over alleged ill-treatment meted to host communities.

In the letter, NYIF urged ExxonMobil to commence the immediate rebuilding of QIT jetty and review of ExxonMobil community relations guidelines of 2007.

They further requested the company to direct its contractor, Bristow Helicopter, to start training youths of the catchment area on helicopter operations after decades of operating in the area.

Other demands of the Akwa Ibom youths include the need for the Public and Government Affairs Department to liaise with the communities and the state government to avoid further breach of the laws of the land.

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