• Oil & Gas - News
  • Updated: April 17, 2020

Rivers Arrests 22 Oil Workers as Wike Blows Hot Against ExxonMobil

Rivers Arrests 22 Oil Workers as Wike Blows Hot Against Exxo


Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Friday announced the arrest of 22 workers of ExxonMobil who allegedly entered the state in violation of the State Executive Order, asserting that he was fully prepared for a legal battle with the oil company.

Speaking during a live broadcast from Government House in Port Harcourt, he asserted that Rivers state cannot leave corporate bodies who violated the state’s lockdown order against COVID-19 to go free, whereas, petty traders like Akara and Groundnut sellers are charged to court for same violation.

Reports have it that the ExxonMobil workers were taken to an isolation centre in the state after they were arrested by security personnel on Thursday night. Twenty-one of the workers are said to be members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, while the remaining staff is the company’s Chief Security Officer, CSO.

According to the governor, “Yesterday, it was ExxonMobil that brought 22 people into Rivers State. Although, service commanders, including the Commissioner of Police, are pleading that we should allow them to return to Uyo. I know their predicament because they take orders from Abuja.

“But, this one, I will fight this one. I have told the Attorney-General to prepare; we are going to Court against them. We will fight this fight legally. ExxonMobil cannot bring in 22 people illegally into Rivers State.

“ExxonMobil does not operate in Rivers State. They only make use of the Onne Port. We are not sure of the health status of the people they brought into the state because they can enter Eleme and Onne communities.

“We cannot leave corporate bodies who are not obeying the laws while akara and groundnut sellers are being charged to Court in Lagos. This ExxonMobil matter will expose those in Abuja. I am ready for them. Rivers State is not a pariah state and we will not be.”

Governor Wike also maintained that the same law that was applied during the arrest of Caverton Helicopter pilots and 10 passengers would also be applied in the case of the arrested ExxonMobil employees.

He disclosed that Caverton Helicopters had apologised to the state government over the conduct that led to the arrest of their pilots and passengers, who were said to have violated the restriction orders of the state.

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