Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Poisonous fish in Oro, Eket, Ibeno *Onna, Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi also affected

Poisonous fish in Oro, Eket, Ibeno *Onna, Eastern Obolo, Ikot Abasi also affected

* Fishermen raise alarm over contaminated aquatic
Consumers of fish in Akwa Ibom state are  in high risk if the startling revelations emanating from the coast line of the state are anything to go by.  Investigations by our reporter reveal that the contaminated fish has raised panic in the state especially within the coastal areas since majority of the people are consumers of fish. 

Those who spoke with our reporter expressed fears over the development, saying that the ugly development is capable of leading to widespread epidemic in the state. They added that the situation has also led to depreciation in the demand for fish as buyers and consumers alike have given the staple the cold shoulder.

Our reporter who was on hand to have a firsthand feel of the situation observed that the issue of oil spill has being a recurring decimal in the area which normally leaves in its wake tears, lamentations and losses for fishermen in the state. The coastal areas in the state, investigation reveal has been seriously hit by the spill which has adversely affected commercial activities in these areas.

Meanwhile, Fishermen on the coast line of Akwa Ibom have raised alarm over contaminated fish in the state due to a recent oil spill from a facility belonging to a multinational oil firm.

The Secretary of the State Chapter of the Artisan Fishermen of Nigeria (ARFAN), Mr Inyang Ekong, made the remark in an interview with newsmen in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Our Correspondent gathered that the oil spill from the facility occurred at the Mkpanak community and its neighbouring local government on April 19.
He said that fish caught on the Akwa Ibom coast line since then had remained unhygienic and unfit for human consumption.

According to him, there is a lot of contaminated fish in the sea now, as a result of the oil spill.

“If fishermen on the coast line now catch fish in the area, it will be contaminated because it is difficult to catch fish whenever there is an oil spill in an area.

“If you catch and bring it home, you cannot even use it for personal consumption, very much less for commercial purposes.
Once there is an oil spill, it damages the fish in the water; usually, the water no longer sustains life and even water in the creeks will be affected by the oil spill,’’ he said.

Ekong, however, decried the scarcity of fish in the state due to the massive depletion of sea weeds.

According to him, whenever there is an oil spill, there will be no fish available.
Ekong lamented that fishermen would be compelled to stay away from fishing until the oil giant cleans up the spillage.

“Once fish feel the odour of an oil spill, they will all run away with their fingerlings, sea birds, snails and crabs to the neighbouring countries,’’ Ekong said.

He said that fishermen were the most directly affected during every oil spill in the state.

He added that the effect of oil spills had rendered fishermen jobless, while lamenting that fishing activities were now at its lowest ebb in the area.
“If they do a clean-up, it takes more than 13 weeks but if there is no clean up, it will last for six months before the water regains itself.

“A particular oil spill had a lot of effects on the lives of fishermen, so when a spill comes like this, fishermen hold their breath because they don’t know what to do,’’ he explained.

Ekong, however, called on the Federal Government, Stakeholders and public-spirited individuals to come to their aid.

Our Correspondent reports that the multinational company involved had yet to clean up the spill at Ibeno and its neighbourhood since it occurred.
Responding to the development, the Manager, Media and Communication, ExxonMobil, Ogechukwu Udeagha, said that the company had observed some intermittent patches of an oil-based substance along the shoreline of the Ibeno beach.

He restated ExxonMobil’s continued commitment to maintaining safety, health and environmental standards in their operations, as well as the well-being of its neighbouring communities.

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