The America oil giant had refused relocation request on grounds that Lagos offers better infrastructures to run its oil business, alongside its affiliates companies – Mobil Oil Nigeria and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd.
“Lagos offers each of those businesses a convenient and well-suited hub from which all three businesses can be efficiently conducted and coordinated by that manager”, the company said.
The agitation for relocation has sparked off several protests in the past by youths who had shut down the operations of the oil company in the state leading to substantial loss of revenue.
The state governor, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, had cautioned the youths not to take laws into their hands, assuring that he had opened discussion with the company’s management towards the relocation of the office to the state.
But the company’s refusal to relocate its headquarters to the state has angered leaders of thoughts and traditional rulers in the state.
In a statement on Friday the leaders described the excuse by the oil company not to relocate as “grossly deficient and untenable”.
The statement which was endorsed by prominent leaders including the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, Effiong Archanga, his counterpart in Eket, E.C.D. Abia, and the Head of Awa Afaha Clan, Onna Local Government Area, Raymond Inyang, said the real reason for its refusal was not to expose its expatriates and senior workers to the hazardous environment caused by years of oil production.
The statement reads in part: “They have refused to move because they know the level of destruction their operations have brought to the land and people of Akwa Ibom State.
“They believe the environment is unsafe, health-wise for their senior staff considering the frequency of early deaths and reduced life span of the inhabitants of the area.