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Sunday, June 23, 2019


Mary Ekere

Frontier Oil Company saga has continued to deepen as indigenes of Esit Eket and Eket local government area threatened to shut down the Oil Processing Facility.

This is as the community laments marginalization by the Oil Producing Company sited in Esit Eket and breach of Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between the community and the company.
The aggrieved community decried the disparity and disregard for the MoU signed by the company, insisting that the company has no respect for the agreements entered into with them before they kicked off operations in 2007.

Recall, the youths of the area had on Tuesday barricaded the office and facilities owned by Frontier Oil after a peaceful demonstration.

Speaking on Friday during an inconclusive negotiation meeting between the community and management of the company, the Chairman of Esit Eket local government, Hon. Iniobong Robson explained that the youths and elders of the host community are aggrieved at the attitude and breach of the agreement by the company.

Robson who stated clearly that Frontier Oil Limited has no oita of respect for the people of Esit Eket, added that the community owes the company an obligation to provide them a conducive environment for operations likewise the company respecting the tenets of agreement reached.

He frowned at the company's attitude of sending one person to the negotiation meeting instead of honouring the call with the management team maintaining that such attitude is an insult to the community.

In the Chairman's words: "how would a company that wants to address the problem raised by the community send just one person to come talk to us? The Frontier Oil Company have insulted us as a community. The problem is not that Frontier Oil is behaving less than any other company, the problem is that the Frontier own is worse than other oil company.

"The way the Company and Esit Eket issue is going, I am scared for my life because I may end up being lynched for a crime I did not commit. The company has pushed our community to the walls.

"I believe Frontier Oil have the powers to solve the problems if they want. The interpretation of the attitude of the recruitment team of the company shows that the company does not want the community to work and, we will not hesitate to resist them'.
"We, as a community proposed that those five persons illegally employed be dropped if this negotiation is to make headway. The illegal recruitment of those persons contravenes the MoU signed which states that 'employement into the company must be advertised in Pioneer newspaper, National Dailies and the Council Secretariat'. Such breach is a deliberate attempt not to do what is right and we will resist it". He added

Also speaking, the Chairman of Eket local government, Hon. Frank Archibong who was present at the meeting suggested that since the company has systematically set aside plans to frustrate the negotiation process called for a new approach to be adopted in solving the problem.

Archibong advised the company to be weary of the heat cooking up and address  the issues before it gets to break point.

Responding, the representative of Frontier Oil Limited, Mr Wole Adefila explained that the reason the company has not met it's obligations to the community as stated in the MoU signed by both parties is as a result of the declining and drastic drop in production of oil by the company.
On the issue of the alleged illegal recruitment, Wole hinted that the reason the company contravened the employment agreement contained in the MoU was because there was urgent need to fill up four spaces where two couple resigned over poor payment and two other deceased staff.

Rt.Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh appealed for the Company's cooperation to enable warring issues to be resolved.

Frowning that Mr Wole Adefila appeared alone before the gathering, Hon. Akpanusoh proposed that a new date of Tuesday, June 25, 2019 be fixed for another meeting to accord the General Manager ample time to appear with his Management team to aid resolved lingering issues.

The Lawmaker further advised that the Company's status quo of non-operations be maintained until all issues are resolved.

Meanwhile, the negotiation meeting was adjourned and rescheduled in the presence of the two chairmen of Esit Eket and Eket local government areas, DPO of the local government, Mr Kadiri Umar, elders and youths of the community.

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