OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has agreed to investigate and intervene in the mysterious deaths in Bonny Island, Rivers state.
It also urged the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to immediately brief the Joint Committee of the House currently investigating the incidence of dead fishes in Bonny and other Niger Delta coastal communities on their findings for necessary intervention by other relevant government agencies and further legislative action.
The House also mandated the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide necessary relief materials to the people of Bonny Island as an interim relief and called on the federal government to establish a Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Bonny to carter for the medical needs of workers and indigenes of the area.
These resolutions followed a motion of urgent national importance brought by Mr. Farah Dagogo (PDP, Rivers) and 11 others during plenary session on Thursday.
Dagogo recalled that in the last week of March 2020, there was incidence of large quantities of dead fishes around the Bonny-Andoni shores and indeed several other communities in the Niger Delta region stretching up to Ondo and Akwa Ibom states, which was earlier presented before the House for urgent attention.
He explained that less than 6 weeks later, mysterious deaths were occurring in Bonny Island, Rivers State and about 13 lives were reportedly lost in a few days.
The Rivers lawmaker also stated that officials of the Rivers State Ministry of Health and the NCDC have collected samples from the affected communities for testing to determine what was responsible for the strange occurrence which symptoms include loss of the sense of smell, taste, fever, weakness, vomiting and stooling.
According to him, “Bonny is home to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited and various multinational oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Agip and Elf. As we well know, Bonny Island is a major export point for oil and it has the biggest LNG Gas Plant in Nigeria with six (6) trains, which is the main stay of the Nigerian economy.
“Despite Bonny’s significant contribution to the national economy, the Island can only be accessed via boats and ferries; and without a link road connecting it to other parts of the Rivers State and Nigeria and lacks adequate medical facility.”
He added that “due to the challenge of transportation and communication, it is usually difficult to get help or even access medical facilities in Port-Harcourt or other parts of the country. If the health issue is not contained it could affect the residents and workforce of the NLNG as well as the economy of the country and could also spread from there to other parts of the country especially in this era of the global pandemic”, he submitted.
The motion was passed when the presiding officer, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, put the question.