The Environment

Rivers communities demand govt intervention over dead floating fishes

Access Bank

Residents of Emelego, Adada, Ogboloma, Akani, Emago and Amuruto coastal communities in the Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State have lamented the appearance of floating dead fishes in their rivers.

The residents, who started noticing the floating fishes three weeks ago along the shoreline, expressed worry over the possible outbreak of diseases as most of them drink from the rivers.

Speaking on the development on Wednesday, the Public Relations Officer, Odual Kugbo Development Forum, Believing Wariboko, said the incident was alien to residents of the communities.

Wariboko noted that a majority of the residents of the coastal communities depended on the river water for drinking, as there were no alternative sources of potable water, adding that if the problem was not tackled quickly, a disease outbreak might be imminent.

He said, “There are four species of fishes dying now in our communities and we don’t know what is killing the fishes.

“The dead fishes floating on our river is something we have never experienced before and as an advocacy group, we are calling on the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, the Director-General of NEMA and the Chairman, Abua/Odual LGA, Opelia Daniel, to immediately come to the aid of Odual people and investigate the source of this problem with a view to finding a lasting solution.

“This is serious because the people’s major sources of livelihood are fishing and farming; 90 per cent of the people living here drink the river water and if this problem is not tackled quickly, it can cause an outbreak of diseases.”

In April, a similar incident happened in the Bonny and Andoni local government areas of the state and the state Commissioner for Environment, Egbis Tamuno, advised residents not to eat the dead fishes to avoid poisoning.

“My advice to the people in that region is not to eat those fishes. Times are hard and 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,” he had said.

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