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Reps worried about mystery deaths in Rivers

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Mystery deaths in Bonny Island, Rivers State, are giving the House of Representatives sleepless nights.

In effect, the house at plenary presided over by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday enjoined relevant authorities, including the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to wade in and arrest the situation.

The decision followed the adoption of a motion under ‘matters of urgent national importance’ sponsored by Mr. Dagogo Farah and 11 other lawmakers from the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The house directed the NCDC to immediately brief its joint committee investigating the dead fishes in Bonny and other Niger Delta coastal communities for necessary intervention of relevant government agencies and further legislative action.

It urged NEMA to provide relief materials to the people of Bonny Island in the interim.

Also, the green chamber called on the Federal Government to establish a Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Bonny to carter for the medical needs of multinational oil and gas workers as well as indigenes of the area.

Farah claimed that the unfortunate incident, which claimed about 13 lives, was occurring in Bonny Island not long after the discovery of large quantity of dead fishes around the Bonny/Andoni shores.

He claimed that the deceased exhibited symptoms including loss of the sense of smell and taste, as well as fever, weakness, vomiting and stooling.

Interestingly, the symptoms were reportedly not exactly as those of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as it neither presented cough or respiratory issues.

Noting Bonny as home to Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited and various multinational oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Mobil, Chevron, Agip and Elf, he said it was regrettable that the island, which lacked adequate medical facility, could only be accessed via marine transport and without a link road to other parts of the state and the country.

He warned that if the health issue was not contained, it could affect the residents and personnel of NLNG as well as the country’s economy, besides spreading to other parts of the country.


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