Indigenous contractors working for ExxonMobil Unlimited in Eket, Akwa Ibom, on Thursday gave the company 14 days to address lingering issue of discrimination against them in the award of contracts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the contractors are indigenes of Eket, Esit-Eket, Onna and Ibeno local government areas, which constitute the host communities of the oil company.
The ultimatum by the contractors operating under the aegis of “Joint Core Communities Contractors Association” was contained in a letter dated June 17, 2014, to the management of ExxonMobil
In the letter by the contractors’ Chairman, Chief Friday Ebong and Secretary, Mr Godwin Eleazar, which was made available to NAN in Eket, they described ExxonMobil’s attitude toward them “as disdainful and retrogressive.”
They accused the company of oppressing local contractors in spite of their competence.
“We are competent to handle major contracts both onshore and offshore, but over the years, no meaningful contract had been given to our members.
“In line with the local content policy of the Federal Government, we, as stakeholders, deserve a better deal and partnership with the oil company,” the contractors said.
They threatened to explore every legitimate means to compel the oil company to address the “injustice” if it failed to act before the expiration of the deadline which began on Tuesday.
“ExxonMobil has the responsibility to develop and patronise indigenous contractors with quality contracts, so that they can compete with other contractors nationally and internationally,” they stated.
They alleged that the company had been evading dialogue on “mutual working relationship” with the association.
The contractors said that they were stakeholders in the activities of ExxonMobil and warned that the company could face rough business environment if it remained adamant to issues of good relationship with them.
When contacted, the Public Affairs Manager of ExxonMobil at its Qua Iboe Terminal, Mr Akaniyene Esiere, said that the management of the company was aware of the contractors’ complaints and was disposed for dialogue with them.