By Gabriel Ewepu
Worried by the growing level of unemployment in Akwa Ibom State, Ekid People’s Union has asked oil companies operating in the state to fashion out means and ways of generating jobs for the citizens.
The National President of the Ekid People’s Union, Dr Samuel Udonsak, particularly pleaded with ExxonMobil and other oil servicing companies to employ Akwa Ibom natives in their respective host communities as a means of adding value to the people.
Udonsak, who spoke at a joint National executive Council meeting of ExxonMobil Host Community Youth Movement of Eket Federal Constituency, Ulok Ulok People’s Assembly and Ekid Peoples Union, asked the oil firms to start awarding contracts to indigenous contractors in line with the Local Content Act and other relevant laws in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State.
Dr. Udonsak dismissed as inconceivable and untenable for some of the companies to continue to claim that most of the people in the host communities were unqualified to serve as their employees and contractors, pointing out that the state has more than enough qualified personnel and contractors to handle any job.
Dr. Udonsak also asked the companies to take up the task of training and retraining those from their host communities which they consider as inadequate in order to fit into the jobs opportunities created by their operations as part of their corporate social responsibility rather than ignore the locals in favour of outsiders.
Dr. Udonsak pointed out that though there were many issues to be resolved with ExxonMobil, all can be satisfactorily addressed by continuous dialogue, noting that there was no place for violence in contemporary times.