No fewer than 500 physically challenged youths and women protested against exclusion of their members in the oil spill compensation share paid to some victims by ExxonMobil in Eket, Akwa Ibom.
The protests, which started in the early hours of Saturday subsequently led to the closure of Eket Local Government Council as protesters prevented officials from entering their offices.
The disabled gathered at the entrance to Eket Council Secretariat carrying placards with inscriptions which read, “We are stigmatised even in our community’’, “Elders give us our right”, “Oil Spill Committee be bridge and not barrier to persons with disability in Eket’’, “Oil spill committee refused to include disable persons in oil spill compensation money’’, “Elders carry us along’’.
The Spokesman of the protesters, Mr. Raphael Ekanem, regretted their exclusion by the Eket community in the community development projects in the area.
“We have stopped the local government from functioning because we have been fighting with Mobil to pay oil spill compensation so that we can use the money to build our homes.
“We can no longer sit on the fence, enough is enough, there is a limit to human endurance, that’s why we have called on our members to stage a protest against such act of inhumanity to man.
“We, persons with disability, want our own homes because the community refused to carry us along in all ramifications,’’ Ekanem said.
He said that they had written several letters to the Transitional Chairman of Eket local council but received no attention.
“The Transitional Chairman turns down our several requests of disability, so we are appealing that should give us our share of community projects in the area.” He said.
It would be recalled that a major oil spill occurred from ExxonMobil facility offshore in 2012 in Akwa Ibom while the company recently paid the 25 per cent of N1.127 billion oil spill palliative to Eket Community in Akwa Ibom.

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