Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Delta State House of Assembly has asked the federal government to investigate the mysterious death of large quantities of fish particularly in the Forcados and Escravos rivers in the state as a matter of urgency.
The assembly, also, asked the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to commission inquiry into the death of fish in the state’s coastal areas.
It made the call in a resolution it passed on Friday to draw the attention of the authorities to another epidemic waiting to happen if necessary action was not taken to nip the danger in the bud.
Under matters of public importance, the lawmaker representing Warri South-West Constituency, Hon. Emomotimi Guwor raised the alarm over the mysterious death of large quantities of fish in the state’s waters.
After deliberating on the motion, the lawmakers passed a resolution urging the president to direct the Federal Ministry of Environment and its agency, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) to investigate the cause of the frequent cases of dead fish being washed ashore on the River Forcados and Escravos River.
Guwor, in the motion, said the two rivers and their tributaries were apparently under the siege of yet unidentified disease presently killing fish along the shorelines of the aforementioned rivers.
He listed the areas worst hit by the strange development to include Ekemetagbene in Bomadi Local Government Area, Akparemogbene, Oyangbene and all communities in Ogulagha and Iduwini kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area as well as the entire Gbaramatu kingdom, all Ugborodo and Orere communities in Warri South West and Ogheye and other communities in Warri North Local Government Area.
He asked the president to direct the relevant authorities to protect the biodiversity, conservation and sustainable development of the natural resources and the ecosystem of the affected communities from total extinction.
He urged the governor to direct the commissioners in charge of the ministries of environment and oil and gas to carry out public enlightenment and sensitisation campaigns on the health hazard and environmental consequences of consuming the dead fish in order to avoid outbreak of epidemic in the state.
He also urged the state government “to send relief materials to the affected communities with a view to alleviating the sufferings of the people whose socio-economic well being and livelihood have been disrupted as a result of the impact of the environmental crisis.”
Guwor, Chairman of the House Committee on DESOPADEC, equally stressed the need for concerted efforts to ensuring that citizens of the affected communities live in a cleaner and healthier environment devoid of pollution.
He said fishing business is the main occupation of the riverine dwellers, disclosing that all accusing fingers on the cause of the unknown disease that are killing the fish were being pointed in one direction- oil companies that operate in the localities.
In their contributions, the House Majority Leader, Tim Owhefere, Deputy Majority Leader, Oboro Preyor, Chief Whip, Pat Ajudua and Austin Uroye and Charles Emetulu, harped on the dire implications of any damage to the ecosystem.
Stressing that the entire society has been exposed to real danger, the legislators said that the federal, state and local government authorities must collaborate to seek solution to the problem.
They emphasized that a tripartite committee should be set up as a matter of urgency to find out the cause of the dying fish in the rivers, stressing that fish can not be dying from artificial causes.
The motion was unanimously adopted when put to voice vote by the Speaker, Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, who presided at the plenary.