Ukpana community in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom State has demanded the sum of N117bn as compensation from the Sterling Oil Production and Exploration Company over alleged trespass on their land without consent.
These allegations are coming even as the youths have threatened to cause restivesness and disrupt the activities of the oil coy if the amount was not paid.
The community stated this yesterday while speaking through the special assistant to the president of the Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Community Network on Environment and Project Monitoring, Mr. Iniobong Akpan, at the village Town Hall,Ukpana, in Onna local government area of the state.
Akpan stated that the company in the process of constructing an access road to the Appraisal Wells Drilling Site in Ibotio Oil Field- OML 13, the company allegedly destroyed their means of livelihood, including farmlands, economic trees, water bodies, cemeteries and ancestral homes.
According to him the destruction of ancestral homes has provoked the anger of their gods, who have continued to visit them with “unwarranted deaths” in the community.
He said “The village has suffered an unwarranted trespass and destruction of their property perpetuated by the Sterling Oil Exploration and Production Company through oil exploratory activities. The massive destruction occurred during the construction of access road to the Appraisal Wells Drilling Site in Ibotio Oil Field-OML 13 and the company’s operational base.
“The said destruction affected both economic crops and trees, streams, namely: Idim Mkpighe,Idim Uto,Etuk Enyeng, Adaha Ukim,Idim Akpan Akwa,Idim Judah etc. Also affected are swamps including Mbat James Udo,Mbat Ikang Eta etc
“The village owned property such as oil Palm trees, raffia palms, pineapples, plantation, cementry– Uwa Iban Cementry,Iso Mbubiam, Akpa Mbiam as well as ancestral shrines- Nku-ku Ikot Inwang, Ikpaisong Ubop Owo etc were drestroyed without appeasement and relocation which now cause unwarranted deaths in the community”.
He alleged that following the massive destruction the community’s land has been polluted while their streams and and water bodies including aquatic lives have been destroyed causing untold hardship to the community.
Reacting to the allegations, the consultant to the company, Fabian Ebri, said the project is a federal government project owned by the Nigeria Petroleum Development company and the company is just a technical partner.
According to him both the federal and the state governments are in the know of what is going on, adding that he does not believe both government would make such a blunder in the community.