Bayelsa Government has warned that eating the fish found dead along the Atlantic coastline could be injurious to health.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment of the state, Warimapo Amatari, said that investigations have shown that the fish contained heavy metal, which could cause cancer, kidney and liver diseases.
In a statement in Yenagoa on Tuesday, Amatari said, “The fishes appear to be contaminated by heavy metal compounds and sludge from preliminary observation and eating such fish can expose the people to cancer, kidney and liver diseases.
“The processing and drying of such fishes and transporting to Yenagoa, the state capital should be stopped pending the outcome of the investigation to ascertain the cause of the deaths of the fishes.
“The ministry of environment in collaboration with other government agencies is investigating the matter and in the interest of public health, we want the people to keep away from the dead fishes.”
People living in Koluama, Ekeni, Ezetu, Fishtown, Foropa and Sangana communities along the Atlantic shores in Bayelsa, had reported incidence of massive dead fish along the shoreline since the middle of March.
They said the fish could have been killed by pollution from the field operations of an oil company in the area. They therefore appealed to the Federal and State governments and their agencies to investigate the cause of the death of the fishes.
A community organisation of the people led by Captain Ekubo and Biraladei Brisibe Wuka said the oil companies operating in the area had not shown any concern about the development.
Chevron Nigeria Limited, which operates oilfields near the communities, has said the company knows nothing about the dead fish. The General Manager in charge of Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr Esimaje Brikinn, said, “CNL and Star Deep confirm that there has not been any chemical release from any of our facilities.”