Frontier Oil Company saga has continued to deepen as indigenes of Esit Eket local government area have threatened to shut down the Oil Processing Facility.
This is on the heels of the community’s lamentation about the Oil Firm’s marginalization 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.
It would be recalled that youths of the area had on Tuesday, June 18, barricaded the Firm’s office and facilities after a peaceful demonstration.
Speaking on Friday, June 21, during the 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 was an insult to the community.
He said: “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 resist them with our last blood.
“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 ’employment 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, a new approach to be adopted in solving the problem.
Archibong advised the company to be wary of the heat cooking up, and to address the issues on ground 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 its obligations 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.
He said, “our capacity at carrying out the obligations in the MoU has dropped drastically. The reason we cannot meet our obligations is that we now produce 400 barrels of oil a day which is less than what ExxonMobil is producing. Despite the limited funds available to us, we have tried to keep to some of our obligation by building classroom blocks, donated two buses and other projects”.