Members of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, Niger Delta chapter, have urged the Shell Petroleum Development Company to immediately pay them the $3.4bn fine imposed on it by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency.
They made the call in a communiqué made available to journalists on Sunday.
The communiqué was signed by Pastor Samuel Kuroko, Alexander Mesogboriwon, Elizabeth Egbe, and Oris Otto.
They issued the communiqué on behalf of the victims of the Shell (SNEPCo) Bonga Oil Spill of December 20, 2011, from the five most impacted states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo, and Rivers.
The communiqué noted that it was the resolve of the body that the Shell Bonga Oil Spill of December 20, 2011, and the consequent stay away order made by NOSDRA to save the lives of Nigerians, especially the fishermen, has foisted hardship on the fishermen plying their trade on the coastal waters.
It read, “This hardship, which has led to the untimely death of many of the members of the association, is as a result of the attitude of Shell towards the victims.
“That Shell never empathized with the victims even during the height of the spill impacts even when it had been determined through a Post Impact Assessment that the spill was as a result of operational failures and an estimated 40,000 barrels of crude oil had been pumped into the waters – operational fields of the fishermen/women.
“That the present Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has given the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria victims of the Shell Bonga Oil Spill the most listening ears.”
The association noted that the struggles for justice and lawful resolution of the issues coupled with the fatherly disposition of the President provided the opportunity for NOSDRA to pronounce fines and awards against Shell to the tune of $3.4 billion.
However, the meeting commended the President for always giving attention to the calls and challenges of the less privileged, urging Shell to pay the fine awarded against it.
“We demand on behalf of all the victims of the Shell (SNEPCO) Bonga Oil Spill, which is rated globally as one of the most devastating, that Shell pays immediately the fines/awards of $3.4bn imposed on it by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency which fines/awards were upheld both by the National Assembly through the House Committee on Environment and a competent court of the land – the Federal High Court in Lagos.
“We demand that should Shell want to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, it should show good faith by first lodging the judgment sum with the Registry of the Federal High Court,” the body added.