The National Life Patron of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), HRM Owong (Dr.) Effiong Bassey Archianga has lamented over the state of underdevelopment of Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State despite being a major producer of crude oil in the State.
Archianga, who is the paramount ruler of Ibeno Local Government Area stated this in a press statement made available to journalists in Uyo on Monday, December, 20,2021.
He condemned the adverse effects of oil exploration in the area adding that he will continue campaigning for the betterment of Ibeno.
Part of the statement read thus, “Crude Oil, condensates and Gas are found in Ibeno. We suffer environmental hazards from Oil spills and gas flaring. Our rivers and lands are polluted. The funniest thing is that Ibeno is underdeveloped. I stand to be challenged anywhere you call me to, I will say it loudly that Ibeno has been ignored by both the Federal and State governments.”
He lamented that both the federal and State governments have failed to give Ibeno a facelift commensurate with its contributions to the national wealth.
“Look at the state of the access road into Ibeno, for years now no drainage on the road; no street lights, the road was partly constructed few years back yet it was hurriedly commissioned and thereafter abandoned. It is of recent that we are seeing some efforts on the road after much complains. That road is a federal road. I battled with the then Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Godswill Akpabio in November 2014 or so, and he told me your son, referring to Governor Udom Emmanuel, will come and fix it for you. Still, the road remains partly done.
“Go round Ibeno, there are no impactful federal or state governments’ presences yet this is the giant striker of finance for the state and the nation. If road was to be constructed in Akwa Ibom State or Nigeria, where should it be first?
“Go round Ibeno no hygienic water. ExxonMobil are drinking branded bottled water, they drilled for water but they are not consuming it because it’s highly contaminated with oil. If they are surviving on branded bottled water, what about the poor men, women and children? How will they survive?
“The cottage hospital we have that was built during Godswill Akpabio is not being maintained regularly, no drugs or medical materials whatsoever are made available when needed, no security is provided as well,” the royal father lamented.
Archianga, who is the immediate past president of TROMPCON, also queried the essence of Ibeno being the host community to ExxonMobil when reciprocal dividends are absent in the area.
The royal father further complained that qualified Ibeno sons and daughters are not often employed by the state or federal government: “employment wise, Ibeno children are not being considered by the state and/or federal government in the several sectors of employment but we are well qualified. Educationally, we are masters.
“We have professors, engineers, barristers, doctors and professionals in several fields that are of good repute from this area but are not being employed by both the Federal and State governments, why? Are we not citizens of this country?
“Last time about 29 additional wards were created by Akwa Ibom State Independent Electoral Commission (AKISIEC) but no single one was given to Ibeno or Eastern Obolo, why? That is total injustice.”
He appealed to the relevant authorities to fast-track development in the area to avert worsening environmental degradation which he said has posed many health challenges to residents.