Staff of ExxonMobil, Eket in Akwa Ibom State, on Friday protested the sack of 860 spy police without entitlements.
The protesters, who began the protest at about 8 am, blocked Mobil Housing Estate at Marina road, Eket Local Government Area of the state.
The protesters were chanting solidarity songs, carried placards with different inscriptions such as “ExxonMobil sacked 860 Nigerian workers after over 22 years of slave labour’’, “ExxonMobil respect the rule of law’’, “Supreme Court of Nigeria is higher than ExxonMobil’’.
Other inscriptions read: “ExxonMobil comply with Supreme Court Judgement’’, “Calculated disobedience of Supreme Court judgment on its employees is an insult to the Federal Republic of Nigeria’’, “ExxonMobil masters of slave labour’’ among others.
Okon Johnson, the Chairman, Security Workforce ExxonMobil who spoke on behalf of the protesters, expressed displeasure over the attitude of the company.
According to him, ExxonMobil has been unjust to people that have entrusted their life and property to the company.
Mr Johnson urged ExxonMobil to as a matter of urgency comply with the Supreme Court Judgment of April 20, which ruled that the company should reabsorbed the 860 spy policemen as well as reward long serving personnel.
“The Management of ExxonMobil called us for a meeting at Eden Hotel today and told us that mails will be sent to us.
“In the meeting, the multinational company told us that the company has acknowledged us as staff, and it is working to implement the Supreme Court judgment.
“After the meeting, surprisingly as we were going back to our offices, we noticed that ExxonMobil have redrawn our access batch and we cannot have access to the premises of the company again,’’ he said.
Mr Johnson called on ExxonMobil to reabsorb the 860 staff of the company as well as pay their entitlements before they would end the protest.
He also expressed disappointment that ExxonMobil does not want to comply with the Supreme Court judgement.
“Our demand is for the company to fully comply with the judgment of the apex court.
“The apex court is law and it should be respected and if the company is doing this, that means it is disrespectful to the nation, the Supreme Court and Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Mr Johnson said.
Reacting to the development, Ogechukwu Udeagha, the Manager, Media and Communications of ExxonMobil confirmed the protest.
“Following the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Mobil Producing Nigeria would provide compensation packages for affected personnel.
“And it is offering Human Resource, consulting services to assist with employment opportunities with third parties.
“MPN typically retains security services through third parties who are best positioned to provide these core competencies.
“We thank these individuals for their prior service in supporting the safety and security of our operations in Nigeria,’’ Mr Udeagha said.