Bayelsa State government seeks federal assistance over erosion threats
The State Deputy Governor, Gboribiogha John Jonah made the appeal after inspecting a landslide site at Okoloba Community in the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Council in the state. Lamenting the loss of houses and property to the disaster, he urged the Federal Government to participate more in the protection of the Bayelsa environment, which he noted, has suffered serious degradation owing to erosion and oil exploration activities.
According to him, several communities in the state, including Koluama, has been washed away by ocean surge and coastal erosion making government to re-settle residents in new areas.
He said: “There are lots of erosion sites in Bayelsa State; this is just one of them. We have been reporting about how the ocean surge has been washing off our communities including Koluama. There is need for the Federal Ministry of Environment to look into Bayelsa’s case more seriously now with this wake up call that we have got today. We shall inform the Federal Government on the need for them to participate more effectively in the protection of our environment.”
He sympathised with the victims, assuring that government would do everything within its reach to provide them with some temporary relief, while proffering long-standing solutions to the problem will come afterward.
John Jonah, however, used the opportunity to caution people of the state to be more safety conscious and take proactive measures by avoiding development of houses and other facilities in areas that are prone to natural disasters.On the issue of providing shoreline protection for the community, he said: “I understand there is a record that, the government had planned to provide shore protection here.
We will look at that and see where the plan stalled and put pressure as much as we can to see that that project comes back to light.”Commenting, some of the victims who are indigenes of Okoloba community, Mr. Titus Yeigbagha and Chief Imomoemi Officer said, the incident occurred thrice at about 8am, 1pm and 6pm respectively.
Mr. Yeigbagha who lamented that properties worth several millions of naira including six houses were wiped away by the slide, called on the government to come to their aid by providing shoreline protection for the area.
Also speaking, the Governor’s Special Representative in Kolokuma/Opokuma local council, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri recounted a similar incident that occurred in the community in 2008, 2013 and 2015 which claimed several million worth of property and appealed for the urgent attention by the government.
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