Representatives and Leaders of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) from the five Niger Delta states, who are victims of Shell Bonga oil spill, on Wednesday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on multi-national oil giants in the region to put an end to the environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta.
They also asked the oil firms to take responsibility for the destruction caused over the years.
The artisan fishermen at a press conference in Benin, Edo State, lamented that the continuous effect of the activities of these oil companies had not only destroyed their main source of livelihood but also posed a serious health danger to the people.
Speaking through their lawyer, who is also the Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and winner of the 2022 Goldman Environment Prize Winner for Africa, Chima Williams, they said there should be workable solutions to the environmental despoliation arising from their operational methodologies in the country.
While commending President Buhari for the positive steps in environmental protection and preservation over the years, Williams appealed to the President to ensure that petroleum extractive companies were compelled to live up to their responsibility of restoring the environment.
He said: “Mr President, I want to use this medium to appeal to you to use your good offices and as a caring father to bring all the parties together, including all the petroleum extractive companies, such as Shell, Exxon Mobil, Nigerian Agip Oil Company and Total Energy and the victims of their operations, relevant government agencies and authorities to discuss workable solutions to the environmental despoliation arising from their operational methodologies in the country.
“A situation where we currently have the multinational oil companies running away from their responsibilities of restoring the Nigerian environment to the way it was before their extractive adventures and restituting citizens whose livelihoods pattern have been either distorted or dislodged by the dislocation of their societal fabrics in the name of divestment should also be addressed and discouraged untill the needful is done