The Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) has urged oil giant, ExxonMobil to address environmental hazards posed by oil spill and other exploration activities.
According to the Niger Delta Coordinator of ARFAN, Mr Inyang Ekong, ExxonMobil needs to clean up the supposed July 2 oil spill that happened within the company’s facilities at the Ibeno shores.
Ekong said this in Eket, Akwa Ibom, while speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, July 31.
He stated that fishermen in the area were the worst hit by any oil spill as it always, effectively, puts them out of job.
“Whenever there is oil spill in the state, there will be no catch. The impact damages the fishing nets.
“Once the oil touches the nets, the fish get scared and run to other neighbouring countries,” Ekong said.
He called on the company to adequately compensate the fishermen as well as the host community as was the norm in other developing countries.
“It is their duty to compensate fishermen so that we have something to depend on, before the water can be restored again and the fish come back.
“This is rainy season that we are supposed to catch fish but we are at home due to oil spill from ExxonMobil facilities,” Ekong said.
He called the Federal Government, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum and the National Oil Spill Detection and Regulatory Agency, to provide appropriate sanctions for oil companies guilty of oil spill.
“We have been complaining to Nigerians. We have written series of letters, we have talked to leaders of National Assembly, House of Representatives to no avail,” he said.
However, ExxonMobil, has moved to dispel the claims made by the association, labeling it as lacking “evidence”.
“There is no evidence to support the claim and none of its activities has been reported to having the potential to spill as was being alleged,” the Manager, Media and Communications of the company, Mr Ogechukwu Udeagha, said recently.
Udeagha said the company has always had the safety of the oil communities at heart.