July 25, 2024

Lagos Farmers Lament Massive Loss of Revenue Over Alleged Fish Mortality Caused by Dredging Activities in Epe

In a heartbreaking turn of events, aquaculture farmers in the Ebute Afuye site of the Lagos Agro Product Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Appeal program, a joint initiative by the World Bank and the Lagos State Government to support fish farming, have suffered a devastating loss.

Their once-promising venture now lies in ruin, with hundreds of fish dead and millions of naira in investments wiped out. The farmers believe this is due to sand dredging activity happening dangerously close to their fish farm cages on the Epe Lagoon.

Mr. Azeez Ramon, chairman of the Fish Farmer Cooperative Society in Ebute Afuye, Epe, expressed the collective anguish of the farmers.

He explained that dredging operations began last year. Upon noticing the activity’s proximity to their farms, they immediately raised concerns with the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We received assurances that the matter would be addressed,” Mr. Ramon said. “Tragically, our worst fears materialized when the fish stopped feeding. Upon investigation, we discovered the dredging boat still operating close to our farms. We captured video evidence of the ongoing activity.”

“The next day, we arrived at our farms to find the water polluted and our precious stock of fish, worth millions of naira, dead.”

Mrs. Oluwaseun Illesanmi, a fish farmer facing the burden of an 8 million naira loan she obtained last year to invest in the business, is among those hit hard by the tragedy. With the harvest anticipated for April, she now faces financial ruin. She appeals to relevant authorities, government agencies, and ministries for urgent assistance.

Mrs. Omofe Mark, a seasoned fish farmer with over 15 years of experience, emphasized that such a calamity had never been witnessed on the Epe Lagoon before. She firmly believes the dredging activity caused the mass fish die-off and leaves no room for doubt about the cause of the catastrophe.

However, she implored the state government to intervene swiftly to mitigate the losses suffered by the affected farmers and safeguard the future of aquaculture in the region.

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