Sunday, 2 March 2014
Akpabio Scuttles Proposed Talks Between ExxonMobil And Militants, Threatens Protestors With Retaliation
Akwa Ibom state governor Chief Godwill Akpabio, at a meeting of handpicked youths, called off a scheduled meeting on April 25 between ex militants and officials of ExxonMobil and threatened retaliation against those taking action against the oil giant.
Akpabio warned: ''Never again should the youths block the gate of ExxonMobil. I will not tolerate any violence on the part of the youths. The meeting between you and ExxonMobil scheduled for April 25 is cancelled.
Organisers of the April 2 protests however dismissed the governor’s remarks as an empty threat saying they would be compelled to seek self help since the governor has chosen to take sides with ExxonMobil against the aspirations of the people.
“We shall take the next step in our strategic plan and the coming days shall be though as the struggle will enter the next level, we shall not be intimidated, we know what to do,” a member of the group told Sahara Reporters by phone on Saturday evening.
Observers recall that the governor on other occasions had sided with ExxonMobil to crush the agitation of youths and ex militants who were protesting the deplorable state of oil producing communities.
After the February 2008 oil spill that polluted the Atlantic shoreline and sparked off a protest, Akpabio visited the community in the company of ExxonMobil officials and promised to compel the oil firm to compensate the oil spill victims but nothing has been heard of the compensation till date.
Akpabio further warned the selected group: “Don't allow people to push you in the wrong direction. Don't test the resolve of government because government is poised to protect life and property. Avoid indulging in violence, kidnapping, robbery and drug addiction''.