Restaurateurs and sea food dealers in coastal communities in Akwa Ibom say the recent oil spillage in the area has affected the consumption of fresh fish by the people.
They attributed the development to fear among the people over the possibility of buying fish poisoned by spilled crude.
The Tide’s source reports that the fear among the people arose from the May 1 oil spillage from the Qua Iboe Oil Fields, which polluted water in the communities.
Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), a subsidiary of U.S. Oil firm, ExxonMobil, had, in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Mrs Gloria Essien-Danner, confirmed that oil was leaking from the company’s pipeline.
The leakage discharged crude into the Atlantic Ocean and polluted the water and coastal settlements in the predominantly fishing communities in Akwa Ibom and neighbouring Cross River.
A source in Eket, Ibeno and Onna local government Areas, situated along the Atlantic shoreline, revealed that the people had shunned fresh fish since the spill was reported.
Obong Nathaniel Oduneyie, the Clan Head of Eket Afaha in Eket local government area, said oil spills were detrimental to fishing and public health.
“I love fresh fish a lot but I discovered that the ones bought and prepared for me recently tasted awful, apparently contaminated by the spill,” he said.
Mrs Elsie Akpan, a restaurateur in Esit Eket, told the source that her customers now preferred meat to fish because of the fear of eating contaminated fish.
According to her, I used to have many customers for fresh fish pepper soup and, in fact, that is my specialty in preparation but since the oil spill, people have withdrawn from eating the pepper soup.
“It has affected my business adversely as I hardly have any customer come for the delicacy these days,” Akpan said.
A dealer in frozen fish and sea food in Ibeno, Mrs Regina Nsopikpo, decried the oil spills and noted that the occurrence had become frequent “and has made people reluctant to eat fish”.
“We no longer make sales because people are avoiding fish. In fact, fishermen no longer go to sea to fish. The fish we sell now are from trawlers which operate outside Nigerian waters”.
“Oil operations in this area are really affecting our business negatively and that was why women joined the youths to protest the frequent oil spills.
“Even at that, Mobil has not considered paying compensation for any of the past spills to reduce the suffering of fishermen in the host community,” Nsopiko said.
Rev. Samuel Ayadi, Akwa Ibom Chairman of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria (ARFAN), in a reaction to the development, advised fishermen in the area to withdraw from sea immediately.
“We have ordered our members to pull out until the ongoing clean up of the spill is completed,” he said but added that it was difficult to control fishermen, who were not members of ARFAN.
“I can say that our members numbering not less than 6,000 have complied with the directive to stay away from fishing in the meantime,” Ayadi said.
The Tide’s source recalls that coastal communities near the 960,000 barrels-per-day Qua Iboe Oil Export Terminal operated by MPN in Ibeno, have experienced oil spillages on three occasions in six months, namely December 4, 2009, March 24, and May 1.
Gov Eno Flags Off Rural Roads In Akwa Ibom
In keeping to his campaign promises of connecting different parts of the state by roads, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno has flagged-off road construction projects to re-connect communities in Obot Akara, Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo local government areas.
The roads flagged – off include 11.71Km Abiakpo Ikot Otu-Atan Ibong-Usaka Annang Road and Nto Ndang-Nto Ekpu road Road, with two bridges, each spanning 15 metres, and 16km Midim Atan-Ikot Inyang-Ikot Akpan Ekpeyong-Etok Uruk Eshiet-Ikot Imonte road, with 30 metres span bridge, linking some villages in Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas.
Speaking at the flag-off ceremony of the Essien Udim – Etim Ekpo access road at St. Paul’s Primary School Midim, Essien Udim, Governor Umo Eno said his administration is committed to the promise made during his campaign and urged the people to exercise patience as every part of the State will benefit from his administration.
He reaffirmed his commitment to selecting and undertaking projects primarily on the basis of impact and benefits to the generality of the people, rather than satisfying and serving individual’s interest.
Governor Eno noted that he was moved by the sad stories of the community and especially, the “pregnant-women-swallowing-bridge” as was told by one of the community members, and assured that such sad tales will become history within the shortest time.
He stressed that the 16Km Essien Udim-Etim Ekpo road and the bridge projects had no political motivation, but a pointer to his administration’s sensitivity to the plight of the people, especially the women and children who had been exposed to avoidable risk by using the collapsed road and bridge.
According to him, “we didn’t come to do this projects based on political reasons. It is God that directs the government on this road project, not any politician.
“We are connecting two local government areas by this project.
“We want to thank our brother, Celestine Mel who has used his God-given talents to attract this project here.
“If you know this man, he is a critic in every sense, but I don’t have a problem with criticism, so far it’s very constructive and will bring good to the people, not just abusing the government.
“We want to thank you for drawing our attention to this road and to the various accidents and incidents that have occured here. We believe that by the Grace of God, all that will cease,” he said. This road when completed, will connect the people of Essien Udim with their kith and kins in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area.
At the Abiakpo Ikot Otu-Atan Ibong-Usaka Annang Road and Nto Ndang-Nto Ekpu road Road, in Obot Akara Local Government Area, the Governor who was moved by the outpouring of love and gratitude by the people also approved the construction of a model primary healthcare facility to replace the dilapidated Usaka Health Centre project initiated during the military era.
The Village Head, Eteidung Williamson Ndarake, had made a passionate plea to the Governor to intervene on the health facility and his request was instantly granted, with people responding with a roar of gratitude.
In their remarks, the members representing Etim Ekpo/Ika and Essien Udim State Constituencies, Chief Mfon Idung, and Prince Ukpong Akpabio respectively, as well as the transition chairmen of Essien Udim and Etim Ekpo, Dr. Anthony Luke, and Mr. Ekpuk Eshiet as well as a social critic Mr. Celestine Mel, expressed gratitude to the Governor for the heartwarming intervention and assured of their people’s continuous support for full actualisation of the ARISE Agenda.
On his part, the Paramount Ruler of Essien Udim, HRM Obong Cosmas Akpan, also expressed profound gratitude to the Governor and prayed for God’s blessings and guidance to the governor.
At Obot Akara event which was attended by a cross- section of political stakeholders in the local government area, such as a the former Deputy Governor, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, the Commissione
Edo APC Youth Leader Apologises Over Vandalisation Of Party Secretariat
Edo State All Progressives Congress (APC) youth leader, Tony Adun alias Kabaka, has apologised to the party for leading youths and women to vandalise the secretariat after the first primary election on February 17, which threw up three winners.
According to The Tide’s source, the crowd which he led, forced their way into the offices and brought out the furniture, bags of rice and other equipment, vowing to stay at the building for seven days till the state executive council is dissolved.
Adun said they were protesting the conduct of the officials at the primary election, noting that it was obvious the exco worked against the party.
The protest came after the chairman of the Electoral Committee of the primary, Governor Hope Uzodinma announced Dennis Idahosa as the winner, while the returning officer, Stanley Ugboaja, declared Monday Okpebholo as the winner.
Also, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be representing the returning officers in all the local government, declared Anamero Dekeri as the winner of the election.
With the confusion, the National Working Committee of the party ordered a rerun on February 22 under the Chairmanship of Governor Bassey Otu of Cross Rivers State, who replaced Uzodimma as the head of the electoral committee for the election.
After the exercise, Okpebholo was declared the winner with 12,433 votes to defeat Idahosa, who scored 6,541 votes.
Adun, in a viral video and a statement on Sunday, apologised to the leaders of the party in the state.
He said, “I, Comrade Tony Kabaka, the state youth leader of the APC, wish to apologise to our leaders, women leaders of our great party and all our youths as regards the conduct of aggrieved APC youths during the party primary which took place on the 17th February 2024.
“The party is supreme, I will work with the party and leaders to ensure that our candidate, Senator Monday Okpebholo, is victorious and I wish to use this medium to congratulate him on his victory at the just concluded party primary.
“I want to urge all youths to embrace peace and let us all work together to make sure we succeed in the general elections come September 2024; I remain a loyal party man.
“I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to our state chairman, Jarret Tenebe, and state secretary, Lawrence Okah, and other members of the state working committee to lead us to rebuild the party and bring all of us together to ensure our party produce the next governor in the elections,” he said.
Lawmakers Pass Confidence Vote On LG Boss
A vote of confidence has been passed on the Chairman of Okpe Local Government Council of Delta State, Chief Isaiah Onoriode Esiovwa by members of the legislative arm.
Majority leader of the legislative arm, Hon Ramsey Daniel Okoro, who moved the motion for the confidence vote during the plenary of the House, said the council chairman has been able to spread development to all the wards in the local government area.
Okoro who represents Ward 17 in the local government area said: “With lean resources being experienced by council chairmen across the Local Government Areas in the country, the chairman of Okpe Local Government Council, Hon Isaiah Esiovwa has been able to achieve so much for the people since he came on board as the council boss and we are impressed with his leadership skills.
“I want to hereby move a vote of confidence on the dynamic chairman of Okpe Local Government Council for carrying everybody along and for his numerous achievements. His types are rare and we have satisfied with his leadership”.
Seconding the motion, Deputy Leader of the House, representing Ward 6, Hon. Kingsley Ese Onojighofia, said, “I want to hereby support the motion moved by our Majority Leader in passing a vote of confidence on the chairman of Okpe Local Government Area, Hon Isaiah Esiovwa.
“He has performed extremely well and we are encouraged by what he has done so far as chairman. He has been able to sustain the cordial relationship between the Executive Arm and the Legislative Arm.
“He is gifted with leadership skills. We want to applaud him for his developmental strides and that is why the entire 20 members of the Legislative House present here today are passing a vote of confidence on the chairman for all he has been doing in the entire local government area”.
The motion was thereafter, put into vote by the Leader of the Legislative Arm of Okpe Local Government Area, Hon. Aragbata P. Obakpororo and it was unanimously adopted.
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