From Joe Effiong, Uyo

About 3000 retrenched workers of ExxonMobil have threatened to embarked on what they call “Mother of all protests” if their severance entitlements are not paid with 21 days.

The protest, which according to them, has become even more expedient following the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) alleged signing of $1.28 billion asset divestment from ExxonMobil to Seplat Energy without plan to pay their severance benefit

Speaking with journalists Eket, Akwa Ibom State, the leader of the ex-workers, comprising Janitorial Service Staff and Unified Catering Work Force, Comrade Moses Mbong, commended NNPC for singing the deal between the two oil giants but regretted that their plight had not been looked into by all parties having known that Exxonmobil had not paid them their severance benefit 12 years after they were retrenched.

Mbong who was flanked by frontline members of Janitorial service staff, Unified catering workforce, Mr. Samuel Ekpe, leaders of Ibom youth Liberation, Forum of student leaders, Head of committee for the defence of human right in Uyo, Comrade Renner Ekong and others solidarity groups wondered why NNPC did not follow what the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) Mr. Gbenga Komolafe said, that “we don’t want our nation to carry unwanted financial burden arising from operators of asset overtime by the diverting entities.”

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He called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National Assembly & others key players in the oil sector to intervene for them by tasking ExxonMobil to pay them their entitlement to avoid unforeseen circumstances , since according to them, “said a stitch in time saves nine.”

Mbong disclosed that they had written letters to Seplat energy and NUPRC on 4 January 2024 and May 15, 2024, respectively. notifying them of the liability of non-payment of their entitlements

He lamented that a good number of the retrenched workers have died in agony while others are living in untold hardship occasioned by the refusal of the International Oil Company to pay them their entitlement.

“We have employed all available means on ground to make sure that the protest this time will not stop on still the oil giant responds to our plight and pay us our entitlement. We are also appealing to all well-meaning Nigerians to join us on the said protest as we promise that it will be a peaceful one.”

Before the latest threat by the retrenched workers, our correspondent had sent a request to ExxonMobil to react to the issue. But even as their media and government affairs manager, Ogechukwu Udeagha acknowledged the request and promised that his colleague would give appropriate response, the company eventually, never did.

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