Posted by News Express | 8 July 2016 | 2,509 times
The Artisanal Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), Bayelsa chapter, has applauded the Federal Government for seeking legal redress over the January 2011 oil spill from Bonga Oil fields.
The fishermen noted that suing Shell, which was perceived to be ‘above the law’, was an indication that the days of impunity by oil firms were numbered.
The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had directed Shell to pay a compensation of $3.96 bn.
It also dragged the oil firm to court for failure to comply with the directive.
The Director, Oilfields Assessment at NOSDRA, Dr Idris Musa, had said that some 40,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean and polluted the waters compelling fishermen to suspend fishing.
Princess Elizabeth Egbe, Chairperson of Bayelsa chapter of the association, said on Thursday in Yenagoa that steps taken by NOSRA to get redress for communities and fishermen were commendable.
She said: “For the first time, government has taken a giant stride by taking Shell to court to seek compensation for fishermen and communities in the Niger Delta region.
“The spill had taken a negative toll on fishermen from the region. The intervention showed that the President is genuinely interested in the welfare of Niger Delta people.
“We commend the Federal Government for taking Shell to court to press for the compensation of impacted fishermen. Since the spill occurred fishermen have been adversely affected.
“The spill had also wiped out the Bonga fish specie which the oilfield was named after, the bonga fish specie and its like have gone into extinction. Bonga fish is the mainstay of Niger Delta fishermen.
“The move by government to protect the economic interest of the citizens of the Niger Delta is very encouraging and we have never had it this well in the past.”
Princess Egbe urged the Federal Government to work out a palliative to assist the fishermen to revive their fishing business and boost fish production while awaiting the resolution of the court.
Egbe also applauded the moves by the Nigerian government to clean up Ogoni land.
She urged the federal government to extend the clean up to the Niger Delta region as recommended by the United Nations Environment Pregramme.
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