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Oil spill: Bonga fishermen seek compensation from Shell

Fishermen in the country affected by the December 2011 Bonga Field oil spill on Tuesday sought the intervention of the House of Representatives to get compensation from Shell, owners of the field.

Fishermen from five states, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Ondo and Delta were affected by the spill.

The fishermen, under the aegis of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, told the House that they had over 35,000 members in the five states, whose livelihood depended on fishing.

The National President of the association, Bishop Godknows Nefipre, complained that since the spill, no compensation had been paid to them by Shell.

To make matters worse, the group stated that the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, ordered the fishermen out of the area, citing contamination of water resources as reason.

The fishermen were led to the House by a non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, to lodge the complaint.

Nefipre added, “We want you to talk to Shell and NOSDRA to look at the plight of artisan fishermen numbering over 35,000 across the five impacted states.

“We are here to ensure that the right things are done at the right time no matter whose is involved.”

The fishermen were received by the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Customs, Mr. Kingsley Chinda.

Though, Chinda, who is from Rivers State, assured them of the support of the House, he noted that the Bonga spill was not new to lawmakers.

He recalled that there were several petitions before the House dealing on one compensation demand or another.

For example, he said the House Committee on Environment, was attending to such petitions.

Chinda spoke further, “We will put our heads together based on how far the committee has gone to see how we can open the shelves for the interest of the artisan fishermen association to be captured.

“We assure you that we will also sit and see what we can do to assist you.”

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