The Artisan Fishermen Association Of Nigeria (ARFAN) Niger Delta Chapter 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 pay immediately the fines/awards of $3.4 billion imposed on it by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The group made this demand in a communiqué emanating from a meeting between their leaders drawn from the five most impacted States of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo and Rivers with their Lawyers and Allies on January 18, 2022 to ex-ray their plight over these past years, efforts made in course of pursuit for justice and restitution since the ugly incident of the Shell Bonga Oil Spill and the way forward for the struggle.
The full text of the communiqué reads:
Communiqué Issued At The End Of A New Year Review And Agenda Setting Meeting Of Leaders Of The Artisan Fishermen Association Of Nigeria (ARFAN) Niger Delta Chapter (Victims Of The Shell (SNEPCo) Bonga Oil Spill Of 20th December, 2011)
Leaders of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, Niger Delta Chapter victims of the Shell (SNEPCo) Bonga Oil Spill of 20th December, 2011 from the five most impacted
States of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo and Rivers met with their Lawyers and Allies on the 18th January, 2022 to ex-ray their plight over these past years, efforts made in course of pursuit for justice and restitution since the ugly incident of the Shell Bonga Oil Spill and way forward for the struggle.
The meeting which held virtually after a critical evaluation of the journey so far in pursuit of justice for the victims of the spill made the following observations:
- The Shell Bonga Oil Spill of 20th December, 2011 and the consequent stay away order made by NOSDRA to save the lives of Nigerians especially the fishermen has foisted great hardship on the fishermen plying their livelihoods sustenance trade on the coastal waters.
- 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.
- That the struggles for justice and faith in a peaceful and lawful resolution of the issues of the spill coupled with the fatherly disposition of Mr. President provided the opportunity for NOSDRA to pronounce fines and awards against Shell to the tune of $3.4 billion.
- That the Parliamentary approval of the fines/awards and the litigations and their outcomes are considered to be for the benefit of the victims of the spill and all other impacted stakeholders.
Consequent on the above, the meeting resolved to:
- Thank our dear President Muhammadu Buhari for always giving listening ears to the plight of the downtrodden members of the society especially members of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria noting that though justice has long been delayed, ARFAN is still hopeful that Mr. President in his reputed commitment to justice, sympathy for the downtrodden, voiceless and needy, shall disentangle all impediments and cause the implementation of our plea for immediate
- 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 pay immediately the fines/awards of $3.4 billion imposed on it by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) 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.
- Demand that should Shell want to appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, they should show good faith by first lodging the judgment sum with the Registry of the Federal High Court.
- To happily note SNEPCo‘s recent expression of commitment to Good Community Relations and to call for its manifestation in the immediate resolution of the too long longstanding issues of the Bonga Oil Spill of 2011.
- Call on their lawyers – CHIMA WILLIAMS & ASSOCIATES, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and all their Associates, Allies, Sympathizers and Men/Women of Goodwill to continue to support their cause for justice and where all else fails, support them in the only option left by taking out separate litigation towards enforcing their rights to damages and compensation, including supporting NOSDRA in defending and enforcing the judgment already secured.