Port Harcourt — The Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, has faulted the report by the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, on the possible causes of massive death of fishes on the Atlantic coastline of the Niger Delta.
Similarly, the Rivers State Government has described the report by NOSDRA as hasty, not holistic and not far reaching enough.
Executive Director of HOMEF, Nnimmo Bassey, said NOSDRA’s conclusion was capable of sweeping the serious issue under the carpet, while the affected communities are left to live with the impacts and uncertainties.
Bassey explained that the report released by NOSDRA did not meet the expectations of stakeholders, as to the exact causes of death of the fishes and how to forestall future occurrence.
He wondered why NOSDRA would hurriedly ruled out hydrocarbon as a possible cause, when the agency could not even pinpoint the real cause but only attributed the problem to anthropogenic activities without certainty.
“HOMEF believes that a detailed and in-depth analysis should have been provided by NOSDRA working in cooperation with agencies and institutions including NIMASA, NIOMR, NESREA and Federal Institute for Fisheries Research, which they said were informed of the tragic occurrences.
“The NOSDRA statement doesn’t help the situation and doesn’t erase the anxieties of the peoples of the region. We call on the ministry of environment and relevant agencies to tell Nigerians what killed the fishes so that we know how to respond to this and future incidents.
“We are not satisfied with NOSDRA’s report as this doesn’t bring a closure to the saga. Explaining why we experienced a massive death of fish on our coasts is not beyond our scientists within and outside government.
“We were pleased that NOSDRA took samples of the dead fish, sediments and water from some of the affected areas, for analysis after series of outcry from community people, CSOs and other groups.
“NOSDRA issued a press release titled: ‘Alleged Mass Fish Kill Along The Coastline of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States’.
“The title of the statement plays down on, and even questions the fact, of the massive fish kill that was evident in many locations. The title renders the result of the said analysis conducted by the agency questionable.”
Similarly, the Rivers State Commissioner of Environment, Dr. Igbiks Tamuno, has assured that his ministry was carrying out a holistic investigation on the matter, and was currently awaiting a result from a specialised laboratory.
Tamuno also called for calm among residents of Bonny and Andoni Local Government Areas of the state, in anticipation of the outcome of the result.
According to him, “I have their reports. I have no issues with them (NOSDRA) but I consider their result not far reaching enough.
“Their conclusion did not capture the laboratory details that they talked about. All the same, that is their position, but we are doing a more far-reaching investigation and hopefully, we expect to get a holistic report.
“Basically we are awaiting the final result from a specialized laboratory in Ibadan, which we also sent samples. So it is important to get a fuller result before we can address Rivers people.”
Meanwhile, NOSDRA has absolved oil producing companies from blame in the ongoing pollution of the Niger Delta coastline that has resulted in the massive death of fishes along Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa States’ shorelines.
Director General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, in his report on the issue, said the death of fishes in the Niger Delta coastline was not a result of oil pollution but of pollution from heavy metals from industrial and domestic wastes.