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Fishermen Cry Out Over Neglect, Accuse FG Of Insensitivity

Fishermen under the auspices of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN) has decried what they called the neglect of the fishing sector by the federal and state governments.

The President of ARFAN, Rev. (Dr.) Godknows Nifeipiri made their feelings known in an exclusive interview with The Newswriter on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.

According to him, since the inception of the President Goodluck Jonathan led federal government over four years ago, fishermen have never been given attention.

Rev. Nifeipiri said the artisan fishermen numbering over 7 million have suffered neglect, hunger and insecurity problems as a result of no attention from the authorities.

He said the situation has gone so bad to the extent that he is now wondering whether the fishing occupation is not part of the agricultural sector of the economy of Nigeria.

According to him, all efforts at reaching President Jonathan on their plight have proved abortive, as he has never responded to their letters.

Asked what exactly does his organization want from the Federal Government, the man of God said they requested for 20 fishing trawlers to enable them go into the deep seas and fish, as the shallow creeks have been polluted by oil exploration activities.

The ARFAN Boss criticized the newly found aqua-culture technique, where he said only one specie of fish is bred.

He recalled with nostalgia how his association was allocated a fishing trawler by the Shehu Shagari administration in the 2nd Republic, which he said his members managed and paid back the cost of the trawler instalmentally.

Rev. Nifeipiri stressed that aqua-culture is not an alternative to fish-capturing, which he said can produce enough fish to feed the nation and even export to other countries.

He called on the Federal and State Governments to give the fishermen the attention they deserve by procuring trawlers for them as professionals to manage and pay back the cost gradually.

The ARFAN President said in the alternative they are prepared to partner with foreign fishermen contracted by government to produce fish for the country, noting that fish capturing remains the panacea to Nigeria’s fish problem.

He also appealed to Governor Chibuike Amaechi to release one trawler for artisan fishermen in the state to fish at the high seas and pay back the cost of the trawler instalmentally, instead of government embarking on direct fishing business, which he said may not yield the desired result.

Barth Ndu

 

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