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Lagos Govt. stops dredging in Epe, begins mass fish death probe

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

As part of measures to prevent breakdown of laws and orders in Epe, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, has stopped a firm, Renecon, from dredging on waterways, following a mass fish death in Epe Local Government

It said that the move was to calm the face-off that was already brewing between the fish farmers and the dredging firm after the farm owners alleged that the mass fish death recorded across Epe was due to the Renecon operations on the waterways in the council.

The Special Adviser to Governor on Mineral Resources, Abiola Olowu, who gave the directive, also deployed a team of experts from the ministry to inspect the allegations made by the fish farmers and investigate what transpired on the Waterways.

In a statement released yesterday by the Deputy Director, Public Affairs Unit in the ministry, Adetola Idowu, the team deployed by the governor’s aide was led by Director, Solid Mineral Department, Emilio Cardoso, who is also a Geologist.

At the site, Cardoso, after inspecting the extent of damage recorded, described the incident as unfortunate.

He said: “it is quite unfortunate that the reported incident of death of the fishes is true even though we are very careful not to jump into quick conclusions over the cause of the death of the fishes without conducting proper investigation and laboratory testing”.

Cardozo reiterated that “As a way to calm the intense atmosphere, the Ministry has issued a Stop-Work order to the Dredging company pending her findings from the investigations and rigorous testings to be carried out, both parties have been asked to remain calm whilst proper investigation is carried out to ascertain the real cause of the death.

He imply that “‘We are not going to be biased in our findings as we are empowered to ensure all lagosians and their businesses are protected under the confines of the law. Test samples of water, fishes, and other necessary materials have been collected for testing, and we shall do all within our ambit to find out the real cause of the death of the fishes. ”

Emilio explained that other relevant federal & state govt. agencies has been communicated for necessary actions. The outcome of the result shall be made public and necessary action taken if the alleged operation causes the death of the fishes. We also acknowledge that there is an issue of water hyacinth that covers the place where the fishing operations take place.

The director stated further that “No party is being indicted at this early stage of investigations, but we assure the public that the right thing will be done and the interests of both parties well protected.

“No individual will intentionally want to destroy another person’s business as a result of land operations. Hence, there may be a lot of unforeseen causes, which shall be unravelled by our findings. The Sanwolu-Olu led administration is on top of this case, and the public is assured that this will be followed to the latter to forestall any future occurrences”.

Meanwhile, the management of Renecon has denied that its activities were responsible for the death of Tilapia fishes in their cluster in Epe.

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