Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC/MPN) joint venture has pledged continued cooperation with its host communities in Akwa Ibom State to ensure sustainable development of the region.
The company which a subsidiary of ExxonMobil corporation has its operational base in Akwa Ibm state but its administrative headquarter is in Lagos and is the second largest oil producing company in the country.
Though most of oil production platforms are located offshore Akwa Ibom, the company has come under intense pressure by the community in the area of community assistance projects as it has scaled down its activities in recent years.
Udom Inoyo, vice chairman of the company stated this when he visited the lawmaker representing Eket federal constituency in the National Assembly .
He expressed the company’s readiness to partner with the community to bring all issues that have endangered the mutual coexistence between the company and the host community to an end.
Inoyo however described the demands of the host communities as outrageous adding that it makes it difficult for the company to meet the expectations of the community.
He expressed dismay that lawmakers from the oil producing region of the country over the years have shown lack of willingness to understand the challenges of the oil industry but lauded Ifon on his electoral victory and inauguration as member of the 9th National Assembly.
“It is so unfortunate that if you reflect on the democratic experience since 1999, you will know that very few people, coming out of the Niger Delta region have been interested in understanding the industry,” he said.
He lamented that though the company remits three percent of its annual revenue to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), people appeared not interested in asking the commission how the money is spent.
Speaking on the issue of MOU, Inoyo stated that the company has made several attempts to have a written agreement with the host communities but were but marred by huge demands of the communities.
In his remarks, Ifon, one-time chairman of Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom state urged the oil company to engage the host communities in a dialogue towards resolving all issues of conflict.
He blamed the friction between the company and the host communities on a communication gap maintaining that the company had enjoyed a cordial relationship with the communities for years.
“There is a need to sit together with the host communities and come out with a working agreement and ways of consistent communication like we used to have back then,” Ifon said.
“I believe having this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will curb the incessant road/facility blockade by the communities” he said.
He noted that the MOU will define the stands of both the company and the community as anyone who crosses the ‘red line’ will be called to order by the law as enshrined in the agreement.
Ifon observed that the organisation has made moves that tend to portray that it was undermining the host communities, citing the movement of several arm of the establishment to Lagos, and the neglect of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
He said the absence of CSR programmes which were meant to “positively impact on the environment where it operates to rejuvenate it and improve on the lives and well-being of indigenes of such areas was having negative impact on the relationship between the company and the community.
He noted that as a representative of the oil producing communities in the National Assembly, he would be ready to partner with the company to reduce agitation over employment by the youths.