Mixed reactions have continued to trail the alleged dumping of toxic waste in Koko town in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, with claims by the company that the allegation is malicious and untrue.
Ebenco Global Limited, through its Director of Operations, Mr Francis Akintunde, noted that the substance is not toxic, but a sludge which is being recycled to wealth.
Mr Akintunde told Channels Television that the allegation was a wicked and malicious campaign by some people to hoodwink the government with the aim of extorting money from the company.
He said the company is open to any form of investigation provided it is carried out by an authorised body, adding that they have been into oil waste management for 10 years and legally licenced by authorised parastatals.
“Our business is management of oil waste, making sure that the waste associated with crude oil are treated by us in such a way that they are no longer toxic, that they are compatible with the environment, and that they are biodegradable.
“Those who say it is toxic cannot shave our heads behind us and they are not the regulatory agencies that will give a confirmatory test or result.
“So I am surprised at the allegation because the relevant regulators have inspected this facility; the Ministry of Environment, Local Government Chairman and Delta State Ministry of Environment have all come and taken samples to test.
“Until the result of these analyses are made public confirming that the substance is toxic, the allegation is baseless,” the Director insisted.
The Delta State Government, through its Ministry of Environment, said it has swung into action to clear the uncertainty surrounding the issues.
The Commissioner of Environment, Mr John Nani, said samples of the substance have been collected for further laboratory analysis which he said the result would be made public for the interest of all.
“This has caused apprehension on the minds of all stakeholders and thus, there was urgent need to effectively manage the situation for the benefit of Delta residents.
“I am pleased that the Nigeria Customs Service, personally led by the Comptroller of the Edo/Delta Zone, Ona Eboma, is here with us for the on-the-spot assessments of the waste dumpsite and the facility.
“Samples of the substance have been collected for further laboratory analysis and the outcome of the analysis will be made public for the interest of all,” he said.
The lawmaker representing Warri North Local Government constituency at the State House of Assembly, Honourable Michael Diden, also corroborating the company’s statement.
“Everything is politics and hatred. That land in question is in dispute between two family heads and landlords and the man in question paid to some group of persons.
“The other group which claimed to be the rightful owners are the ones behind the toxic allegation. If there’s toxic waste, will it not affect me too?” Diden asked.
For now, it is business as usual at the premises of the company as all have been advised to keep calm until there are results from laboratory tests undertaken by the relevant authorities.