Posted by News Express | 28 November 2014 | 3,431 times
The Artisanal Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) today commended the House of Representatives for recommending a $3.96 billion compensation for the December 2011 spill from Bonga oil fields.
The House Committee on Environment had on Wednesday endorsed a compensation of $3.96 recommended by National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The House directed Shell to compensate the communities impacted by the oil spill from Bonga fields operated by Shell Nigeria Production and Exploration Company (SNEPCO).
Dr. Idris Musa, Director at NOSDRA, was quoted as saying that some 40,000 barrels of oil spilled into the Atlantic Ocean and polluted the waters, compelling fishermen to suspend fishing.
Reacting to the development, Rev. Samuel Ayadi, Coordinator of the fishing group in the Niger Delta, said today in Yenagoa that recommendation was a welcome development.
He commended NOSDRA for their painstaking efforts in conducting studies on the spill incident and making their report a basis for the house committee to arrive at a conclusion.
He said the decision of the House had rekindled the hope of fishermen affected by the spill.
He recalled that some 6,000 members of the association were compelled to suspend fishing activities for more than three months to pave way for clean up activities.
Ayadi urged the management of SNEPCO to comply with the directive which would resolve the lingering compensation claims on the spill.
“We he have cried to the government and National Assembly and we are happy that they responded by bringing Shell to the negotiating table and compelling them to resolve all pending compensation. We applaud and thank the government for this,” he said.
Ayadi said that the Bonga oil spill was responsible for the scarcity of fish as the more than 40,000 barrels of crude discharged into the Atlantic polluted the waters and wiped off the fish stock.
According to him, “Due to that spill we can no longer get ‘Bonga’ fish which the platform derives its name from within our territorial waters; the remaining fish migrated deeper into the ocean where artisan fishermen cannot reach.
“We look forward to the compensation so that we can come back to business now that the waters have been cleansed.”
Public Affairs Officials of Shell declined comments on the decision of the House when contacted.
•Photo shows Shell Nigeria Country Chair Mutiu Sunmonu.
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