LAGOS TILAPIA FISH DEATHS: DREDGERS ASSOCIATION THREATENS LEGAL ACTION AGAINST FISH FARMERS

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By Innocent Orok

For publishing false narratives and accusing it member, Renecon Limited of causing the deaths of tilapia fish at Epe area of Lagos State few weeks ago, without any proven evidence. The Dredgers Association of Nigeria has threatened to take legal action against the fish farmers to come and prove their claims.

This was contained in a press statement issued by the General Secretary of the Dredgers Association, Mr Richard Ntan on Wednesday.

The Association decried that barely three weeks ago when the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee ( MIREMCO) held a mediation meeting with all parties and called for all parties to remain calm for a full investigation to be conducted on the incident to find out the culprit, the fish farmers has gone ahead to publish “false trajectory” against Renecon Limited despite MORENO’s intervention.

The press statement from the Dredgers Association of Nigeria reads :

“About three weeks ago, MIREMCO invited us, (Dredgers Association of Nigeria), Renecon Limited which is also our member, Epe tilapia fish farmers, State and Federal agencies in charge of environment and other natural resources, and other stakeholders to a peace meeting in its Alausa, Ikeja, office.

“The meeting also had in attendance, Lagos State Commissioner for Waterfront, Epe Local Government representatives, and High Chiefs of the community where the fish incident allegedly happened.

“After extensive and heated discussions, and which included reviews of videos of the site where the incident allegedly happened, the meeting observed that there were no Dredging activities within the areas cited as location for the fishing business and the videos presented by the fish farmers at close observation, may not have any direct bearing to the impact on the caged fishes.

“The impact of climate change, particularly of the extreme water temperature and the unprecedented presence of water hyacinth in the area of incident, could cause appreciable damage.
However, the committee gave notice of its intent to get to the root of the incidence by conducting investigations and enjoined all parties to stay off further public spat and name callings until investigations are fully conducted and parties invited to hear and analyse results of findings.

“Barely a week after, MIREMCO officials visited the site of our member, Renecon Limited in furtherance to the investigation as promised during the peace parley, and to which we consider laudable and a promise kept to get to the root of the incidence, we were shocked to read on the pages of the Punch newspaper of Sunday, April 7, 2024, page 23 and also Daily Sun, Tuesday, April 9, page 23, narratives by the fish farmers, clearly inciting a well crafted agenda to nail activities of Renecon Limited, our member as the cause of the unfortunate incident” the statement said.

The Dredgers Association said they called the press conference to raise an alarm of underhand tactics by the fish farmers in collaboration with fifth columnists to truncate the peace process and possibly incite the public against Renecon Limited and that it will not hesitate to head to court for redress.

“We called this press conference to raise an alarm about the underhand tactics of the fish farmers who now probate and reprobate on an issue under investigations and therefore state as follows:

“That the Dredgers Association of Nigeria will not hesitate to head to court to bring the fish farmers and all its leaders who granted what is clearly a false narrative without any iota of scientific evidence to buttress their premeditated agenda to rubbish the name of Renecon Limited* to pay for their hate speech.

” That the fish farmers had by those procured publications deliberately ambushed the ongoing investigations by MIREMCO with the intention to frustrate an ongoing scientific investigation to find out the course(s) of the fishes mortality and in same breathe poison decisions if it goes against its expectations.

“That Dredgers Association of Nigeria has credible intelligence that some fifth columnists who are interested in stopping the activities of Renecon are in league with these fault finding fish farmers who are desperate to frustrate the peace process agreed at MIREMCO’s office.

“That Renecon on the advise by Dredgers Association of Nigeria, wrote officially to MIREMCO to complain about the publications of the fish farmers and vehemently states that their narratives as contained in said two newspaper publications were lies and figment of the fish farmers brainless imaginations.

“That a week after our rebuttal and in noticing any consequent attacks or media judgment by fish farmers directly or indirectly, Renecon Limited* will approach the courts to seek pronouncements to protect its reputation and image, and stop further attempts to criminalise her operations without any credible scientific evidence.

“That MIREMCO should take judicial notice of this deliberate breach of its avowed commitment to find peace and maintain cordial relationship between the two parties and all the concerned stakeholders by the fish farmers and their collaborators and hold them responsible for any possible violence or damage to Renecon property and equipment.

” That by the false tales as stated in the two newspapers, the fish farmers had incited innocent members of public against Renecon Limited, thus putting the lives of its owners and workers in danger and also deliberately procured and instigated possible mob reactions against the operations of the company whose only offence is to operate outside the fish farmers cadastral.

“That Dredgers Association of Nigeria validates the operations of Renecon Limited*, which has met all extant regulatory requirements and a frontline corporate role model in dredging operations in Lagos State”, the statement concludes.

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