.… No link yet to oil spills with dead fishes — NOSDRA
By Samuel Oyadongha & Egufe Yafugborhi
ENVIRONMENTAL activists in Rivers State have called for a declaration of the strange appearance of dead fishes lining the Bonny and Andoni coastal lines as a “health emergency” to forestall negative impact on humans in the areas.
This came as National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, said that it found no oil leaks linked to the massive death of fishes that were washed ashore and litter the Atlantic coastline of the Niger Delta region.
The concern raised by a five man environmental investigation team from Bonny, led by Godswill Jumbo, came as the Rivers State Government warned against consumption of the dead fishes said to have flooded Bonny and Port Harcourt markets.
The team which inavigated the waters of impacted Amariari, Lighthouse, River 7, Agaja, Uku-Mbi, Mbisu 1, Mbisu 2, and Ifoko communities in Bonny LGA and Oyorokoto and environs in Andoni LGA, said dead fishes have also been sighted on the Atlantic shoreline traversing neighbouring Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom States.
Jumbo said, “The breed of croaker, popularly known as ‘Broke Marriage’ and ‘Onah’ in Ibani dialect is the only observed fish affected by the incident. They were seen dead, littering the shoreline and also floating on the sea and washed ashore by waves.
“When it began last week of March 2020, they were dying in large numbers and residents were filling their baskets and boats, some for domestic consumption, the bulk of it dried and sold to majority unsuspecting consumers both in Bonny and Port Harcourt.
“On the body of the fish, swellings looking like a lesion or boil could be noticed. When pricked, something like pus gushes. The fish begins to rotten from the tail as against the head. Spread fire to dry, unlike normal fish, it doesn’t dry thoroughly, but rather disintegrate or scatter.
RVSG warns against consumption
The state Commissioner for Environment, Egbis Tamunor, following a confirmation visit to the area, said, “We have sent samples to some laboratories. What we want to know is whether there are poisonous materials in the fishes or some materials are related to oil activists because that area is an oil berth.
“We expect to get results of the test within the next one week. My advice to the people along that region is not to eat those fishes. Times are hard, things are difficult, but we can’t afford high level carcinogenic or toxigenic materials in our people because we may not know the consequences of such.”