by ‘Jola Sotubo
A violent protest by youth in Akwa-Ibom State has left at least six people dead and a number of villages in ruins.
The affected villages, located in Effiat, Mbo Local Government Area of the state include Inua Abasi, Mbe Ndoro, Ibuot Uton, Utan Brama, and Utan Effiong.
The youth reportedly went on a rampage to protest the lack of basic amenities in their communities and the non-payment of compensation by the oil companies operating in the area.
According to reports, the crisis started last week but escalated yesterday. Thousands of the fleeing villagers are currently taking refuge at Ibaka beach with household items rescued from the inferno.
The rampaging youths also accused two prominent sons of the area of depriving them of their entitlements and diverting to their private pockets, monies paid by the oil companies for the development of the communities.
One of the youth leaders of Mbo Youth Forum, who declined to give his name, said that they were disappointed by the greed of their prominent brothers, who have turned round to betray the communities.
He said: “Six people died as a result of this denial and deprivation only last week, and no one knows how many lives would have been lost today (yesterday).
“We had written to the Presidency, the state government, the police and the other security formations of the gross misconduct of those two individuals, but there has been no response.
“We fought with the oil companies and they agreed to be paying compensation, which they have not been paying to us as host communities, but the two persons involved connived with the companies and collect a monthly compensation of over N32 million, which they continue to share.”
The youths alleged that a gubernatorial aspirant, who is running a community surveillance contract with the oil companies and a certain chief in the area, colluded to deprive the communities of their due.
The trouble reportedly started when two surveillance boats belonging to the two prominent sons working for the oil companies were seized by the youths, after efforts to get the two to release the monies as agreed failed.