From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Fishermen in the Niger Delta region on the platform of Artisanal Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), has decried that they had lost their source of livelihood to the Bonga oil spill.
The fishermen also lamented that they have lost over N432 millions since the incident, adding that over 15 of their members have died in the struggle.
ARFAN, which expressed the worries in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, after over seven years of the spill, said the oil devastation and the chemical used by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), destroyed the total water body.
Speaking, the Coordinating Chairman of the body, Reverend Samuel Ayade, expressed concerns over the delay in getting justice on the matter, stating that the fishermen have lost everything they had to the devastation.
Ayade explained that the spill was the reason there are no more Bonga fish in the market, noting that many species of fish have migrated out of the Niger Delta region.
He said: “After the spill, they asked us to steer clear the river, so that we don’t bring contaminated fish to the public. Even as we are talking, the spill has destroyed and chased Bonga fish from the Niger Delta area. We can no more catch Bonga fish again. This is why you can’t see Bonga fish again in the market and it is expensive.
“The effect of that spill is still on us. When we fish now, we only catch sea weeds. The federal government should come to our aid. We are suffering and we don’t have any other profession.
Meanwhile, a human right lawyer, Barr. Chima Williams, noted that the over 35,000 fishermen in the Niger Delta region, who were displaced by the spill, need attention from the government.
Williams called on the Federal Government to help the registered fishermen in the region to enjoy their labour, threatening that if the FG fails to give attention to the individuals, his chamber would help the fishermen to go to court.