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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Oil Spill: Fishermen demand N250b compensation


The Fishermen under the auspices of Famous Fishing Organisation (FFO) in Unyenge community, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom have demanded for N250billion compensation from an oil company, Universal Energy Resources Ltd, (UERL).

The chairman of the organisation, Mr. Johnson Harry gave the hint while briefing newsmen on the impact of the August 15 oil spill on its members from the company’s oil field in Stubb Creek.

Harry informed NaijaAgroNet that the spill emptied about 2,000 barrels of crude into the Ede Akpa River in the area thereby destroying the aquatic life, raffia palms, fishing nets and stopping their only means of livelihood which is fishing.

“The oil flowed to Ede Akpa River where we do our fishing activities and destroyed our fishing equipment and as a result, we can no longer fish in the river again.  The oil spill also destroyed farmlands in the area, affecting the livelihood of 5,000 farmers in Unyenge community. We cannot farm, and according to international standard, if there is an oil spill, you have to wait for 10 years before you can start farming again,’’ Harry said.

He lamented that the devastation had caused untold hardship to the people of the area, resulting to acute hunger and death of some of their members and urged UERL to clean up the affected lands and waters in the area according to international standard.

The company the Public Affairs Officer of the company, Mr. Aniefiok Iwaudofia, confirmed the incident, while explaining that the cause of the spill was equipment failure from a ruptured flange on the tank outlet and assured the host community that the management would continue to engage in practice and processes designed to effectively manage the hazards of its operations.

“The quantity of crude spilled into the river was only about three barrels. It is important to note that the spill was immediately and effectively contained within the Stubb Creek well pad. The little that poured on the UERL acquired Right of Way (ROW) was scooped and the top soil excavated and back-filled with fresh sand,’’ Iwaudofia said.


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