OrderPaperToday – The Senate has mandated its Committee on Health (Primary and Communicable Disease) to meet with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) following the number of mysterious deaths recorded in Bonny Island, Rivers State.
The red chamber also urged the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to provide relief materials to the affected communities.
Also, the red chamber mandated the Committee on Environment to meet with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to ensure reduction of marine pollution of all kinds.
These resolutions followed a motion moved by Sen Betty Apiafi (PDP, Rivers) during plenary on Tuesday.
Moving the motion, Sen Apiafi explained that there has been occurrence of mysterious deaths around the island of the state in the past 6 weeks, saying “there were incidents of large quantities of dead fish around the Bonny-Andoni shores and several other coastal communities along the Atlantic shoreline in the Niger Delta region stretching from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Ondo States.
“Less than six weeks later, mysterious deaths have been occurring in Bonny Island in Rivers State and is reported to have claimed about 13 (thirteen) lives. Officials of the Rivers State Ministry of Health and Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) have collected samples in Bonny Island, Rivers State to determine what’s is responsible for the strange occurrence which some defined the symptoms to include loss of the sense of smell, taste, fever, weakness, vomiting and stooling.”
Apiafi lamented that, “despite the significant contribution of Bonny to the national economy as a major revenue source for the nation, the island can only be accessed by boats and ferries as there is no link road connecting the island to other parts of Rivers State and Nigeria. The island also lacks adequate medical facilities.
“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.”
The lawmaker warned that, “if the health issues is not contained, it could affect the residents and workforce of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) as well as the economy of the country, and could spread from there to other parts of the country especially in this global pandemic.”