Mr Samuel Ayade, the Chairman, Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), Akwa Ibom chapter, has called on Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), Unlimited to clean up the recent oil spill in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that the spillage occurred in Ndito Eka-Iba in Ibeno community from ExxonMobil facility on May 8.
Ayade made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibeno, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom on Tuesday.
“The people living in Ibeno communities, their major occupation is fishing and now there is scarcity of fish due to the recent oil spill from ExxonMobil facility.
“Fishermen go to the sea but hardly catch fish, instead they catch weeds in the sea.
“Once the oil spills, ExxonMobil will use power chemical to sink the oil and destroy the weeds which the fish feed on. “This is the season of tilapia fish, go to Ibeno communities, you cannot see one single tilapia fish anymore,’’ he said.
Ayade called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the people, saying they had lost their source of livelihood from incessant oil spills.
Mrs Maria Edet, a fisherwoman in Ibeno, said that fisher women were always the worst hit compared to fishermen during any oil spillage in the area.
“The fisherwoman suffers double of what a fisherman suffers because the woman is the one that takes care of the home.
The fisherwoman also called on ExxonMobil to urgently carry out clean up to reduce pollution and environmental hazard in the community. “The fish have gone into the high seas because of oil activities and woman does not have the facility to do deep sea fishing,’’ she said.
Edet added that the oil spill had destroyed fishing equipment in the communities.
Another fisherman in Ibeno, Mr Godwin Ikot, said that host communities were threatened by ExxonMobil exploration in the area.
He said fish had migrated to the Atlantic Ocean due to incessant spillage and pollution of the environment in the area.
He said the people, who were mostly fishermen and farmers, had been experiencing starvation and degradation of their environment from oil spills.
Ikot called on the Federal Government to make a law that would compel ExxonMobil to immediately clean up communities affected by oil spill.
“Federal Government should make a law to compel oil companies to immediately clean up oil spill to deliver Ibeno out of the mess occasioned by incessant oil spill,’’ he said.
Reacting to the development, Mr Ogechukwu Udeagha, the Manager, Media and Communications, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), confirmed the incident.
He, however, explained that the Monarch drilling rig, drilling on behalf of Conoil Producing Limited, owned by Depthwize Nigeria Limited damaged MPN pipeline onshore.
“The rig intentionally grounded itself in the MPN/NNPC JV operating area after experiencing mechanical difficulties.
“We are working with our JV partner to manage potential supply impacts and with Depthwize to remove the rig in order to complete the damage assessment,’’ he said.
Udeagha said that ExxonMobil remained committed to safety and protection of the environment. (NAN)