Nigerian Fishermen Sue Coca Cola For N500 Million
By Victor Ebimomi
Independent Nigeria
September 7, 2006

Lagos: Fishermen operating under the aegis of Ajeromi-Ifelodun Farmers and Fishermen Association, an affiliate group of the Lagos State Fishermen Co-operative Association, have taken the Nigerian Bottling Company PLC, makers of the popular Coca Cola to a Lagos High Court.

They are asking the court for an order compelling the company to pay them N500 million as general, aggravated and special damages.

The Motion on Notice brought to court pursuant to Order 38 Rule 8, High Court of Lagos Civil Procedure Rule with identification number LD/1373/2006, said the farmers are alleging that Coca Cola and NBC who are the defendants and respondents in the suit have since the commencement of their operation about 15 years ago been discharging effluent into Apapa rivers and ponds, which has adversely affected their operations.

The motion, dated August 29, 2006 and deposed to by their Chairman, Fatai Ojulari, also told the court that upon discovering the deadly substance being emitted into the Apapa waters, they made representations to the company protesting the development. "But Coco Cola ignored our plea. Not even the intervention of the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), which reportedly frowned at the lack of Effluent Treatment Plant (ETA) to detoxicate the industrial effluent generated from the Coca Cola plants yielded any positive result," they said.

Besides, the farmers alleged that up till the time it was filling the suit, NBC was still discharging effluent and wastewater into adjoining canal, which serves as their fishing point.

They, therefore, argued that if unrestrained, Coca Cola will continue polluting the canals and the surrounding waters, a situation they feared, would render them permanently unemployed.

Besides asking for an order compelling Coca Cola to pay them N500 million, they are also seeking a declaration that Coca Cola was not entitled to produce and bottle its beverages and drinks in such a manner as to lead to the discharge of untreated effluent and wastewater into the Apapa Canal where they carry on their trade.

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