Epe Tilapia Fish Deaths: MIREMCO holds Peace Talk between Fish Farmers, Dredging Company

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By Innocent Orok

The Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO) is mediating a peace process to
settle the dispute between fish farmers and a dredging company, Renecon Limited over fish mortality in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State which occur recently.

MIREMCO in a meeting of all parties involved held on Tuesday in Lagos has stepped in to settle the situation ordering both parties to return back to their business activities while the matter is being thoroughly investigated.

The dispute arises last week when allegations from a viral social media video reports by Tilapia fish farmers in Epe, implicating Renecon’s activities as the cause of the fish deaths in Ebute Afuye Cluster of Epe Local Government Area in Lagos State.

The mediation process which took placed in Lagos on Wednesday was chaired by the MIREMCO Chairman, Mr Sesan Olanrewaju where he noted that the meeting was not aimed at apportioning blames, but to address the concerns raised by both parties and find a mutually acceptable solution.

The Committee as well as the Lagos State Commissioner for the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Honourable Yacoob Ekundayo Alebiosu who was also present at the resolution meeting urged everyone involved to return to work while awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

Speaking to Journalists after the close door meeting, the Agbon of Epe, High Chief Dada Yesiru disclosed that the government has issued a directive urging all parties to resume work pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations.

Emphasizing the government’s commitment to resolving the dispute amicably, High Chief Yesiru noted that the Ministry responsible for overseeing the matter has assured both Renecon and the fish farmers that their grievances will be addressed fairly. He however urged all parties to exercise caution , affirming that the appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.

“The Government has asked every one to return back to work pending the report of the investigation will be carried. The ministry knows the exact thing to do. They have pleaded with Renecon and the Fish farmers assuring that both sides will be sorted. When the result from the investigation is out, we would know who is at fault” High Chief Yesiru noted.

Speaking on behalf of the dredgers, the President of Dredgers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Akpomejero Batare emphasized the need for a scientific investigation to determine the cause of the fish mortality.

Batare also highlighted the importance of impartiality and urged for a thorough examination of factors such as water poisoning and toxicity amongst other likely causes of the unfortunate fish mortality.

“We came here to resolve a dispute between the fisher men in Epe and one of our operators who also incidentally is the National Treasurer of our association. Let me borrow the words of Adams Oshiomole which says in a pandemonium situation of this nature, truth is always the first casualty. It is very normal for exchange of blames, but we are before the government and we have requested that they should do a scientific investigation because this has to do with either poison of the water, toxicity and all others.

“They are all scientific issues and the investigation should be devoid of sentiments. We believe that justice will be done. We have dialogue with the representatives of the government, we believe in them and that by at the end of the day justice will be done” Batare stressed.

Both sides expressed confidence in the government’s ability to conduct a fair investigation and deliver justice. They reiterated their commitment to dialogue and cooperate to resolve the issue amicably.

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