Niger Delta group, representing Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, and Rivers states, has appealed to president Bola Ahmed Tinubu to compel Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) to pay $3.6 billion awarded to them as compensation for the 2011 Bonga oil spill.
The plea was made during a peace protest held in Abuja yesterday.
The group leader, Federal Ebenade Johnson, during a peaceful protest said that despite directives from the House of Representatives committee on Environment in April 2014 and the Federal Executive Council in May 2016, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) has consistently refused to compensate the affected fishermen.
Highlighting the federal High Court in Lagos’ directive for compensation, Johnson expressed concern that SNEPCO’s preference for litigation could perpetuate poverty for the affected communities.
“We believe that either the government agencies purporting to deal on our behalf have been compromised or they are deliberately conniving with SNEPCo to frustrate payment of our compensation to us.
“We therefore call on policy and decision makers and in particular our dear president, Chief Bola Tinubu to come to our aid for a quick resolution of this matter which has lingered since 2011,” Johnson said.
Calling on policymakers, decision-makers, and particularly President Tinubu, the group urged immediate intervention for a speedy resolution to a matter that has lingered since 2011.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, was not available to address the protesters. But a woman, presumably an official of the ministry who refused to identify herself, received a signed protest letter from the protesters on behalf of the minister.
Health risks, destruction of livelihood Johnson later, in a telephone call with our reporter, expressed frustration over the lack of communication from the EFCC on the outcome of its investigation.
According to him, the oil spill has devastated their livelihoods, rendering fishing impossible due to environmental damage and exposing them to various forms of health risks.