Media Action for Accountable Leadership (MAFAL), a non-profit organization on transparency and accountability in corporate activities, has raised concerns over the negative activities of Sterling Global in Eastern Obolo.
Sterling Global is a multinational oil company operating in Eastern Obolo local government area.
A release signed by Mathew Mathew Akpan, Esq, head, legal unit of MAFAL, accused Sterling Global of involving in several detrimental actions that have had adverse effects on the local community and the environment in Eastern Obolo, Akwa Ibom State.
According to the release “Sterling Global has been responsible for the wanton destruction of the ecosystem in Eastern Obolo. The company’s operations have led to deforestation, pollution of water bodies, and the loss of habitat for wildlife. These activities not only contribute to climate change but also undermine the livelihoods of indigenous communities who depend on nature for their sustenance.
“MAFAL has documented numerous human rights abuses committed by Sterling Global in Eastern Obolo. Local residents have been forcibly evicted from their ancestral lands to make way for the company’s projects, without adequate compensation or consultation. Additionally, there have been reports of violence against protesters and intimidation tactics employed by the company to suppress dissent.
“MAFAL’s investigation has exposed Sterling Global’s exploitative labor practices in Eastern Obolo. Workers are subjected to poor working conditions, long hours, and bereft of adequate fringe benefits. Furthermore, the company continues to play mind games as it disregards the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) component of ensuring that forty percent(40%) of the total workforce in its employ are indigenes of Akwa Ibom State by recruiting only ten percent as Akwa Ibomites and spreading the other thirty percent across the country. This blatant disregard for labor rights and mutual agreements is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently.
“Sterling Global has equally breached a component of its MoU with the state government which was the appropriate resettlement of Lagos settlement which is within its operational field for environmental safety purposes. Our findings reveal this has not been done, instead, it has been persistent in efforts of usurpation of powers to close down roads within the creeks and block the access routes to this settlement.
“Sterling Global is also involved in the exploitation and buy-off of the youths, some community and political leaders through inducements to their advantage in short-changing the people.
“MAFAL urges Sterling Global to immediately take responsibility for its negative activities and engage in a dialogue with the affected communities to find sustainable solutions. It is essential that the company adheres to international human rights standards and implements environmentally responsible practices to mitigate further damage.
“MAFAL questions the rationale behind government’s inability to hold Sterling Global to account for violating the MoU with regards to the 40% employment for Akwa Ibom people, Lagos settlement relocation expressly stated in the document of engagement and unilateral road closure.
“Furthermore, MAFAL calls upon the government of Akwa Ibom State to hold Sterling Global accountable for its actions. The government should conduct an independent investigation into the company’s activities and take appropriate legal actions to protect the rights and interests of its citizens.”
It can be recalled that in 2019, Oil producing communities in Eastern Obolo in Akwa Ibom State had asked the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC and its partner, Sterling Global to immediately stop work on oil assets in the area for flouting the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) conducted for the project.