The Akwa Ibom State Cooperative Fisheries Association has protested against Exxon Mobil’s failure to pay compensation for oil spillages in some communities at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) office in Abuja.
President of the group, Johnson Ntegwung, said its demand for N11 billion compensation for oil spillages by Exxon Mobil, was for damages due the association for oil spillages occasioned by the facilities of Exxon Mobil Unlimited between 1998 and 2012, which led to the destruction of fishing nets, equipment and other accessories.
“Exxon Mobil consulted one Samson Benjamin Ebito to co-ord inate everything relating to the spills. After necessary enquiries, Ebito and indeed Exxon Mobil admitted the facts that the spills were caused by Exxon Mobil’s facility. The panel then directed us to bring our damaged fishing gadgets to them.
“But they burnt our damaged fishing nets, equipment and accessories, claiming that they did not want the items to be recycled for further claims.
‘The panel also admitted that the spills affected over 10,000 fishermen in Akwa Ibom State and that our association, being the largest claimant and fishing group were mostly affected with the highest number of casualties.
“Pursuant to the above, it therefore, recommended that N100, 000 be paid to each fisherman, whose fishing equipment were damaged as a result of the spills to cushion the effect of their predicament due to the spills,” he said.
He added that Exxon Mobil’s conduct was not only injurious and nefarious, but also amount to grave injustice and appealed to the Federal Government to invoke relevant laws of the country to compel Exxon Mobil to explain why it should not be held accountable for the death of most of its members due to their refusal to pay the compensation for the spills caused by its facilities through the NHRC.
The group pleaded with the Federal Government to do everything possible within the confines of the law to ensure that justice prevailed in this matter.
“We also state clearly that Exxon Mobil should not mistake our long silence for cowardice. We are a law-abiding association, bent on pursuing our rights through legitimate means. Enough is enough,” it added.