Posted by News Express | 7 July 2020 | 401 times
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has intervened in the rift between the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and communities over the dead fishes that littered the Atlantic coastline since February.
Residents along the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states had reported massive death of croaker fish species since February, raising concerns of increased toxicity of the territorial waters.
Spokesman of the affected areas, Mr. Furoebi Akene, said on Monday in Yenagoa that the Senate’s intervention followed a petition by the communities.
He said that the 13-member committee headed by Senator Ayo Akinyelure invited the parties to appear before it on July 2, 2020.
“We were invited by the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to appear before it on July 2, 2020 to defend the petitions submitted to it by our people.
“The petition is concerning the dead fish issue along the Atlantic ocean shoreline which we did alongside ten copies of written statements we submitted to the committee.
“Shell Petroleum Development did not appear giving the excuse of the lock down while the DG of NOSDRA and his team appeared.
“After hearing from the petitioners, their team of experts, and the DG of NOSDRA, the committee adjourned to reconvene on July 14, 2020 with a clear instruction for SPDC to appear that day,” Akene said.
Following the outcry that greeted the death of the fishes, the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had moved in to investigate the incident.
NOSDRA Director-General, Mr. Idris Musa, later disclosed that investigations found that the cause of the death of the fishes was the discharge of toxic materials into the water bodies and not crude discharge.
Also the communities alleged that SPDC had discharged toxic wastes from the Forcados Export Terminal into the waters.
However, SPDC’s Media Relations Manager, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, had in a response statement on May 4, 2020 denied that the oil firm discharged toxic wastes into the Atlantic.
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