A viral video showing residents of Mbisughu community in Finima, Bonny local government area of Rivers state, feasting on a dead whale washed ashore, has surfaced online and raised concern.
In the video, the residents appeared to have besieged the beach with cutlasses, axes and knives to cut parts of the carcass of the whale.
It was gathered that the dead aquatic animal was washed ashore the community’s beach on Wednesday but the residents took note of it on Thursday.
The development has further raised concerns from medical experts and environmentalists who warned that consumption of animals — whose cause of death remains unknown — could bring about serious health challenges.
Such concerns were heightened by the suspected pollution of the Atlantic Ocean, which reportedly led to death of thousands of croaker fish in the Niger Delta region recently.
In his reaction, Bara Kabaka, an environmental activist, who shared a video of the incident via his Twitter page, said it was unfortunate people would be damaging their body system with toxic substances.
The occupational safety and health (OSH) consultant added that some other disease surveillance experts have been invited into the community to carry out checks on the dead animal.
“We also have brought in some disease surveillance experts who have also come to explain what is happening here. So, this is a reality and it is something that is of concern to those of us who are environmental activists and people who have concerns for the lives of humans,” he said.
“Just like Whale watching San Diego, very serious harvesting is ongoing. The whale was dead on arrival, so you can imagine that people will be consuming toxic substances into the system which poses very great danger to their health.”
Also reacting to the development in a statement, Idris Musa, director-general of the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), said investigation is currently ongoing to ascertain the actual cause of the recent death of fishes in the area.
Musa, however, dismissed claims that it was caused by oil spillage.
“The event of the death of fishes in large numbers make it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause death of fishes in such large numbers as we found no trace of leakage to link with the dead fishes,” he said.
“The agency proceeded to collect samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fish for laboratory testing. In doing so the agency brought on board other relevant agencies of government that have a mandate on our territorial waters.
“Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Federal Institute of Fisheries Research.
“Also included is the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for an all hands on deck assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers.”