The Senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District, Dr Akon Eyakenyi, has called on ExxonMobil to reinstate over 150 staff and contract workers sacked from its employment in the state.
In a statement signed by the senator and made available to newsmen on Monday in Uyo, Eyakenyi said over 75 percent of the staff sacked are Akwa Ibom indigenes.
The Oil and gas company explained that the disengagement of some staff was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eyakenyi sought the reinstatement of all the sacked workers from Akwa Ibom, adding that out of over 347 sacked across the country, over 150 of them are Akwa Ibom indigenes.
She described the company’s continued exploitation of Akwa Ibom as a case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’, and sought to know ExxonMobil’s employment policy with respect to its host communities of Eket, Esit Eket, Ibeno and Onna local government areas.
She also called for an appraisal of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for the past 65 years, saying, “We are ready to take it up with ExxonMobil once and for all. Enough is enough.
“I strongly condemned in strong terms, the discriminatory treatment of Akwa Ibom workers in the company.
“The peaceful and hospitable nature of Akwa Ibom people over the decades has been misinterpreted by ExxonMobil to mean weakness and helplessness,” she said.
Reacting to the accusations, Manager, Media and Communications, ExxonMobil, Mr Ogechukwu Udeagha, said that COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on global oil and gas industry, leading to the decrease in the price of oil.
“As a direct result, ExxonMobil is reviewing spend in line with the prevailing market conditions.
“In concert with our partners, we are evaluating all appropriate steps to reduce capital and operating expenses in the near term,” he said.