Eket - The clean up of the Atlantic coastline in Akwa Ibom, contaminated by oil deposits, as ordered by National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has yet to commence.
Although Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) said on Saturday that it has accepted to clean up the shoreline, the exercise had yet to commence as at Sunday afternoon..
MPN, an affiliate of US oil firm ExxonMobil and operator of the Qua Iboe oil fields, said that it was still conducting tests on the oil samples to determine the source.
Mobil and members of its host communities in Akwa Ibom on Aug. 13, reported an oil spill to National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
Mr Irvin Obot, Zonal Director at NOSDRA said on Thursday that the agency had instructed Mobil to take responsibility for the clean-up in line with the provisions of the law while investigation continues.
According to a statement from the oil firm, and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Eket on Saturday, the oil firm will cooperate with local authorities in the clean up exercise.
"Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/MPN Joint Venture, confirms it is assisting with the clean-up in cooperation with local authorities.
"The source of the hydrocarbon remains unknown as fingerprinting of collected samples is ongoing.
"MPN remains committed to ensuring that the health and environment of our neighboring communities are protected."
The statement was signed by Mr Nigel Cookey-Gam, Manager Communications and Government Affairs in Mobil Producing.
Meanwhile, residents of Esit Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom on Saturday staged a protest following the oil spill reported at the Qua Iboe oil fields on Aug. 13.
The communities amongst other things urged the local government authorities in Esit Eket to ensure that the oil firm took responsibility for the loss and damages caused by the oil spill to the predominantly fishing communities.
Chief Okon Apkan Owon, a community leader in Ibeno, told NAN on Sunday that the clean up had yet to commence due to a disagreement between the oil firm and the community on the manpower for the clean up.
"The issue is that Mobil approved the use of 40 people for the clean up exercise and we feel the number is inadequate to clean up a distance of 22 kilometres.
"We are of the view that more hands should be used to hasten up the job and avoid further delays because the tide would bury the deposits and cause further danger to the marine ecosystem.
"Further to that, they have been silent on the issues of temporary relief to fishermen and community members impacted by the spill who cannot earn income while the clean up lasts."