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May 29, 2024

Dredgers Association Accuses Epe Fish Farmers of Breaching Agreement, Threatens Legal Action

The Dredgers Association of Nigeria (DAN) on Wednesday accused Epe Tilapia Fish Farmers of breaching agreements reached at a recent peace parley organised by the Mineral Resources and Environmental Management Committee (MIREMCO), threatening legal actions if the fish farmers continue to propagate false narratives about the recent deaths of fishes in Epe area of Lagos.

While addressing the media in Lagos on Wednesday, the General Secretary of DAN, Mr. Richard Ntan explained that MIREMCO already warned the Dredgers and the fish farmers to stay off further public spat and name callings until investigations are fully conducted.

According to Mr. Richard Ntan, “About three weeks ago, MIREMCO invited 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 in Lagos.

“The meeting also had in attendance the 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, 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 incident 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 analyze results of findings.

“Barely a week after, MIREMCO officials visited the site of our member, Renecon in furtherance to the investigation as promised during the peace parley.

“However, we were shocked to read on the pages of some newspaper narratives by the fish farmers, clearly inciting a well crafted agenda to nail the activities of Renecon Limited, our member, as the cause of the unfortunate incident.

“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 fisher 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.

“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 fish mortality and in the same breath 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 office.

“That Renecon on the advice of the 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 the said newspaper publications were lies and figments 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 criminalize 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.”

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