Dead fishes: Senate intervene in rift between Shell, Niger Delta communities

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has intervened in the rift between Shell and communities over the dead fishes that littered the Atlantic coastline since February.

Newspot had earlier reported that residents along the Atlantic coastline of Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States raised the alarm over massive death of croaker fish species since February, raising concerns of increased toxicity of the territorial waters.

According to the 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.

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“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 lockdown 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.

It will be recalled that the development compelled the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to investigate the cause of the incident.

Mr. Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA had said that investigations found that the cause of the dead fishes was due to discharge of toxic materials into the water bodies and not crude discharge.

Also, the communities alleged that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), had alleged that the oil firm had discharged toxic wastes from the Forcados Export Terminal.

The SPDC’s Media Relations Manager, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan had in a response statement on May 4, 2020 denied that the oil firm discharged toxic waste into the Atlantic.

He has yet to respond to a request for comments on the invitation by the Senate over the invitation.

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