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Fishermen seek Buhari’s intervention in pending compensation


PHOTO: Lola Akinmade

PHOTO: Lola Akinmade

Artisanal fishermen operating in the Atlantic coastline have urged President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention to ensure payment of the outstanding oil spill compensation at the Qua Iboe oil fields.

Niger Delta Coordinator of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, ARFAN, Rev Samuel Ayadi, who made the call in Yenagoa recently, noted that the fishermen were awaiting the intervention of the president as a first anniversary gift and to give a new lease of life to the sector in line with government’s economic diversification policy.

He stated that the fishermen have 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 the oil firm and impacted communities but regretted that the fund was yet to get to the artisanal fishermen and other fishing communities in Akwa Ibom.

“We have suffered untold hardships 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 down-trodden people in search for justice”, he added.

“ 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,” Ayadi said.

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