Posted by News Express | 24 May 2016 | 2,494 times
Artisanal fishermen operating in the Atlantic coastline of have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the outstanding oil spill compensation at the Qua Iboe oil fields.
Rev Samuel Ayadi, Niger Delta Coordinator of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), made the call in Yenagoa on Monday.
Ayadi noted that the fishermen were awaiting the intervention of the President as a first anniversary gift to give a new lease of life to the sector in line with the economic diversification policy of the present administration.
He stated that the fishermen had consolidated compensation claims from the Qua Iboe Oil fields operated by Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from year 2000 to 2010 pending at the Presidency.
According to Ayadi, the immediate past administration had mediated between the oil firm and impacted communities. He regretted that the fund was yet to get to the Artisan Fishermen and other fishing communities in Akwa Ibom.
Said Ayadi: “We have suffered untold hardship over the non-payment of the consolidated claims, a development that had crippled fishing activities and reduced fish output and hence the high cost of the commodity in the market.
“We learnt that the Presidency in the immediate past administration stepped into the matter and received some funds to settle the victims but unfortunately the fund was not handed over before they left office.
“We appeal to the President in line with his change agenda to authorise the release of the funds to pay us our claims, it is our belief that this will reduce fish imports which will ease pressure on foreign exchange and firm up the naira.
“We have unshaken confidence in the fatherly disposition of the President who belongs to everybody to champion the course of the downtrodden people in search for justice.
“We have not been able to get out of the problems caused by incessant oil spills as more than 7,000 of our members were impacted by the spills, our members lost fishing gear and accessories over the period.”
The ARFAN Chairman said that a lot of his members have been thrown out of business following frequent spills which wiped out generations of fish from the waters adding that the spills explain why the Bonga fish is almost extinct and scarce in the market.
He explained that the artisanal fishing required the protection of government to enable the fishermen to provide fish which remains the cheapest source of protein to guarantee food security in the country.
•Photo shows President Buhari.
No comments yet. Be the first to post comment.