Reps probe alleged dumping of suspected toxic waste in Koko

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By Emma Amaize, Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

ABUJA—The House of Representatives, yesterday, directed the committees on Environment, Petroleum Resources, Upstream and Gas, to probe the alleged dumping of substances suspected to be toxic waste in Koko, a Warri community in Delta State.

To this end, the committees are expected to carry out an in depth probe into the allegation and report back to the House within four weeks.

This was sequel to a motion brought on the floor of the House by Mr Daniel Reyenieju (PDP, Warri federal constituency, Delta)  entitled: ‘Urgent Need to Investigate the Dumping of Toxic Waste in Koko Community of Warri federal constituency in Delta State’.

Presenting the motion, Reyenieju went down memory lane of a similar incident which happened in June 1988, noting that “Over two decades after the above infamous dumping of toxic waste in Koko, another toxic and carcinogenic waste dump has occurred in the same community this year.”

House of Representatives

He also expressed worries that “About 80 percent of oily sludges are considered hazardous because of the presence of toxic organic materials such as, aromatics, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAHs and complex compounds with a very high molecular weight, such as asphaltenes and carcinogenic waste which contain substances or agents that can cause cells to become cancerous by altering their genetic structure so that they multiply continuously and become malignant.”

In his ruling, the presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara, following House laid down procedures, said that the committees should commence legislative work immediately after a voice that scaled the motion through.

Meanwhile, the Itsekiri Environmental and Human Rights Group, IEHRG,  has said that the company behind the alleged dumping of toxic materials in Koko, Delta State and some unscrupulous community leaders were colluding to cover up the exposed offensive materials.

Coordinator of the group, Mr. Tony Ede, yesterday, called on government to seal off the site for proper investigation, saying that “Some officers of the regulatory body that were sent to the site were alleged to have been compromised.”

The group said, “Following our petition to the Minister of Environment and other related regulatory agencies and statement on February 22 and 23, the company responsible for dumping massive toxic and carcinogenic oil sludge and slurry waste in Koko, Delta State and some unscrupulous Koko community leaders and elders have been on 24 hours a day unending activities to cover up the discovered offensive materials.”

It said that the company had  “ferried tons and tons of sharp and laterite sand to the toxic waste dump site to bury and cover up the highly toxic and carcinogenic wastes that were dumped in open pits with all the attendant health and ecological implications to the people of the area.

“The irony of the matter is that some Koko community leaders and residents are aiding, abetting and supporting the firm in the cover up of the criminal dumping of highly toxic and carcinogenic wastes in their town because they are on the payroll of the company and its backers,” the group claimed.

Also, yesterday, the House of Representatives called on the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, to urgently undertake the rehabilitation of the caved in portions of the road on the Ikpoba River bridge in Edo State.

Meanwhile, the Itsekiri Environmental and Human Rights Group, IEHRG,  has said that the company behind the alleged dumping of toxic materials in Koko, Delta State and some unscrupulous community leaders were colluding to cover up the exposed offensive materials.

Coordinator of the group,  Mr. Tony Ede,  yesterday, called on government to seal up the site for proper investigation, saying that “Some officers of the regulatory body that were sent to the site were alleged to have been compromised.”

The group said, “Following our petition to the Minister of Environment and other related regulatory agencies and statement on February 22 and 23, the company responsible for dumping massive toxic and carcinogenic oil sludge and slurry waste in Koko, Delta State and some unscrupulous Koko community leaders and elders have been on 24 hours a day unending activities to cover up the discovered offensive materials.”

It said that the company had  “ferried tons and tons of sharp and laterite sand to the toxic waste dump site to bury and cover up the highly toxic and carcinogenic wastes that were dumped in open pits with all the attendant health and ecological implications to the people of the area.

“The irony of the matter is that some Koko community leaders and residents are aiding, abetting and supporting the firm in the cover up of the criminal dumping of highly toxic and carcinogenic wastes in their town because they are on the payroll of the company and its backers,” the group claimed.

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