In a meeting of the Utono Obolo Worldwide, a socio-cultural Organization comprising people of Obolo Ethnic Nationality in Andoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, Ohafia Local Local Government Area, Abia State and the Obolo Ethnic Nationality in the Diaspora, held at Obolo House, No. 1 Atakpo Street, Off Nwaniba Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on the 29th of August, 2020, prominent opinion leaders of Obolo Ethnic Nationality from Andoni Local Government Area, Rivers State, Eastern Obolo Local Government Area and Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. At the meeting, paper presentations were made on the following topics:
i. Comprehensive Overview of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
ii. Amazaaba – Ikot Akpan Udo Crises: Historical perspective and the Compelling Need for the Change of Narratives.
iii. Multinational Companies in Eastern Obolo and their Corporate Social Responsibilities.
After exhaustive deliberations and discussions by the eminent participants at the meeting, Utono Obolo hereby issues the following communique:
1. Utono Obolo commends His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, on the steps so far taken to resolve the lingering boundary misunderstanding between Amazaaba Communities in Eastern Obolo LGA and Ikot Akpan-Udo community in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area. We strongly encourage the government to expedite action on the re-settlement and rehabilitation of the displaced people of Amazaaba Communities in Eastern Obolo to their ancestral home.
2. On the issue of political appointments in Akwa Ibom State, Utono Obolo observes that since the inception of the Administration of Deacon Udom Emmanuel that the people of Eastern Obolo have not been given any substantive appointment as Commissioner in the State Executive Council and Permanent Secretary in any of the Ministries in Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, Utono Obolo hereby calls on the Governor to appoint a worthy son or daughter of Eastern Obolo into the State Executive Council and a Permanent Secretary into any of the Ministries in the State considering the enormous resources that Eastern Obolo Local Government contribute to the economy of Akwa Ibom State. It is a well known fact that some key oil facilities like Oso condensate, Amana Kpono, OML 13, OML 69, OML 70, OML 99, OML 100, OML 102, OML 103, OML 112, OML 130, and OML 138 producing gas and more than 400,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) are located within 10 to 35 nautical miles off the shorelines of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
3. Utono Obolo hereby calls on INEC, Akwa Ibom State Government and all relevant bodies to take necessary steps to restore the “Repressed Eastern Obolo State Constituency” which took place upon return to democracy in 1999. We shall stop at nothing to ensure this legal wrong is redressed.
4. Utono Obolo observed with total shock the unequitable and unfair creation of new 139 Electoral Wards by the Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) without any in Eastern Obolo and Ibeno Local Government Areas. We therefore, strongly condemn this act and hereby demand the creation of four (4) additional Wards in Eastern Obolo and Ibeno Local Government Areas respectively which are major contributors of the resources that sustain Akwa Ibom State.
5. Utono Obolo observes that the various International Oil Companies and National Oil Companies operating within the territories of Eastern Obolo do not have operational MOUs with the host Communities and in particular ExxonMobil Producing Unlimited does not even recognize Eastern Obolo as a host Local Government Area, despite their numerous platforms on Eastern Obolo Offshore territory. This is, to say the least, provocative and unacceptable. We condemn this in the strongest of terms and demand the inclusion of Eastern Obolo in all MOUs with ExxonMobil Producing Unlimited and the drafting and signing of MOUs by all the Oil Companies operating in Eastern Obolo territory with the people of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area. We also demand the appointment of Eastern Obolo citizens to the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
6. Utono Obolo appreciates the decision of the Akwa Ibom State Government with the approval of the Federal Government of Nigeria to site the Free Trade Zone in six Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State including Eastern Obolo and Ibeno LGAs. We demand that the Operators of Free Trade Zone should carry out a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project, grant equity holding to the contributors of land for the Free Trade Zone, ensure that a plan exists for the co- existence of the citizens of Eastern Obolo and the Free Trade Zone and carry the host communities along in the implementation of this project in other to avoid dire environmental, economic and legal consequences. We further demand that the project be named Obolo Free Trade Zone as we provide and hold the social license for the bulk of the land area required for the project.
Signed and dated on the 29th August, 2020.
1. Sir. Marcus Edwin Enene
2. Engr Iroigak Ikaan
3. Dr. Romsan Dressman
Administrator -General of Utono Obolo