The notion that ExxonMobil with operational headquarters at Qua Iboe Terminal in Ibeno local government area has not been making financial contribution to the development of Akwa Ibom State as its host community has been punctured by a prominent indigene of the state.
On the contrary, Obong Aniekan Akpan, a one-time Chairman of Eket local government area alleged that Exxon Mobil has been paying N30 billion as development funds to the state government every financial year.
ExxonMobil Corporation, doing business as ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, and was formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey) and Mobil (formerly the Standard Oil Company of New York). Exxon Mobil’s primary brands are Exxon, Mobil, Esso, and Exxon Mobil Chemical. ExxonMobil is incorporated in Texas.
Speaking in Inspiration 105.9 FM, a privately owned radio station in Uyo on Thursday anchored by Team Nigeria Classic, Akpan dismissed as untrue a statement credited to Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the state commissioner for Works that the company was not making financial contribution to the development of the state.
Akpan, an All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain in the state, expressed anger with the government for not always making public the huge financial grants collected on a yearly basis for execution of development projects in the state and how the money is being spent.
“The state government must be transparent in its dealings and must be morally upright in the funds collected from ExxonMobil and other bodies for the development of the state,” the one-time council boss declared while speaking in the radio programme sponsored by Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Matters.
Again, Akpan claimed that the state government collects N7 billion as Pay As You Earn (PAYEE) on a yearly basis from ExxonMobil.
He also stated that the company has been paying N250 million as Ground rent to the state government.
But, a senior manager in ExxonMobil, Ibeno who spoke to Straightnews anonymously admitted that the company has been paying development funds to the state government, but did not mention the amount.
The manager said before now, the company used to display the various sums it spent on various sub-heads on a conspicuously displayed billboard mounted on strategic locations in the state but recently some unidentified persons shredded the billboard and pulled down the signposts.
On the ground rents, the manager acknowledged that the amount was more than what Akpan supplied, saying that the company pays much money as rents to Akwa Ibom government, Eket and Ibeno local government councils yearly.
He was peeved that despite the whopping ground rents paid yearly to the state government and the two local government councils, there was no visible development project to show for the money.
However, Mr. Linus Nkan, the state Commissioner for Finance in a telephone interview with Straightnews denied knowledge of payment of the N30 billion as development funds to the government, saying that even Governor Udom Emmanuel might not have been aware of it too.