Govt probes biotech firm disposing toxic waste into River Benue
Makurdi—Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has set up an investigative panel to probe the alleged discharge of waste into River Benue by a biotech company with a plant on Makurdi-Gboko Road.
A viral video on social media had, weekend, exposed a surface drainage allegedly constructed by the firm through which waste from its premises is emptied into the river thereby contaminating the river and threatening its aqua life.
In a swift reaction to the development, Governor Ortom who had vowed to probe the issue, yesterday set up a panel headed by Commissioner for Water Resources and Environment, Mr Godwin Oyiwona, with the Commissioner for Industries and Cooperatives, that of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the representatives of Benue High Tourism and Conservation Foundation as members while the Director of Environment would serve as Secretary of the panel.
Inaugurating the panel, the governor, who commended those who alerted the government of the development, said he would have ordered the immediate closure of the firm but opted to set up the panel to help the government have firsthand information on what was going on.
He noted the danger of allowing a firm discharge it wastes into a river that people drink directly from, including the threat it posed to the aquatic life in river.
He said “I have been to parts of the world and nowhere do you see a company allowed to discharge its wastes in the river given the danger it posses to human and aquatic life.”
He gave the panel two days to file its report for necessary action, adding: “And I can assure you that stiff penalties would be meted out if the firm is indicted.”
The Governor who also debunked rumours that he owns the plant said: “I want to also clarify that I heard that people are peddling rumours that I own that factory. I do not own the factory, I have no shares there and I am not interested.
The governor also directed the panel to investigate a similar factory located in Zaki Biam to ensure that they abide by all safety measures.