Against the background of the recent Federal High Court judgment in Abuja in favour of Ibeno community against Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to which the payment of N81.9 billion was awarded, a supervisory committee has been set up by the royal council of Ibeno Local Government Area.
The court, presided by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had in the judgment, Monday June 21, 2021, ordered Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to pay the sum of N81.9 billion to the oil-producing community within 14 days, failure of which they have to pay eight per cent interest on the principal sum annually.
Spurred by the judgment which has thrown the community into deep joy, the paramount ruler of Ibeno Local Government Area, HRM Owong Effiong Bassey Archianga, inaugurated a 15-member Ibeno Oil Spillage Management Committee at the Ibeno Royal Palace on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
The committee chaired by a retired army personnel, Pastor David Edet Udo, has Archbishop Hanson Ebong as vice chairman; Barr. Diamond Akpanika, secretary; Hon. Inyang Eyo Ita, treasurer; Chief Okutinyang H. Inyang, paramount ruler’s representative; Obongawan Charity Tony Ipom, women leader; Mr Samuel Ekah –P.R.O/publicity secretary; Mr Friday Ebong, Hon. Samuel Ita, Elder Paul S. Akpanowong, Obong Smith Udoeka, Chief Okon Bassey Archianga, Mr Kingsley Asuquo Asuquo, Mrs Rhoda Etukudo and Hon. Rosaline T. Ekah, all members.
In his speech, the paramount ruler, Owong Archianga, said the rationale behind the set-up of the committee was to ensure proper management, utilization and appropriation as well as application of the awarded sum in the overall interest and welfare of Ibeno people.
He told the committee to work closely with the office of the paramount ruler of Ibeno in order to liaise with NNPC, MPNU and other relevant ministries to follow up on the payment of the N81.9 billion within the court stipulated time.
“Today will remain one of the happiest days in my life as the paramount ruler of Ibeno community. This is because I have lived to witness the actualization of one of my dreams and visions to create a greater Ibeno where persons everywhere would reckon and remember Ibeno as a people and land divinely blessed by God.”
Owong Archianga charged the committee to abide strictly to their responsibilities owing to the sensitivity of the matter. “In the world (apart from God), there is nothing great but man, but in man, there is nothing greater but character.” “…we need men of integrity and honesty; I hope you would not disappoint me and the people of Ibeno who mandated me to constitute this committee”.
HRM Effiong Archianga strongly urged youths in Ibeno to maintain peace within the realm as it is only under peaceful conditions that progress and development can occur.
He listed the terms of revenue to include: “To assist the paramount ruler of Ibeno and Ibeno Legal Team to liaise/contact MPNU, NNPC and any relevant Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA) to ensure the payment of N81.9 billion to Ibeno communities within a reasonable time frame.
“To ensure that the money is paid into a designated bank account approved by the paramount ruler of Ibeno and to ensure proper management/ utilization of the money in the overall interest and welfare of Ibeno people.
“To make concrete plans and schedules for the disbursement of the money to families, propose and identify people-oriented projects for execution when the money is paid.
“To keep accurate records of all transactions in respect of the N81.9 billion for future references and reports to Ibeno General Assembly/Clan Council.
“To enlighten the youths on the need to maintain peace before, during and after the payment of the money and to perform any other duties which may be assigned to the committees as need arises.