Indigenes of Anyama-Ogbia in Ogbia Local Government area of Bayelsa State have cried out over the gradual destruction and submerge of over 500 houses, schools, police post and a margistrate court by coastal erosion.
According to the Indigenes of the community, Anyama-Ogbia which was the Administrative and District headquarters of 18 communities in the Anyama Clan in the colonial era had institutions such as the Saint James Anglican Church established in 1910, a Court in 1935, and a traditional oil mill in 1955, rice mill in 1975 in addition to a primary school, police post and post office put in place in 1935 all now relics of history, destroyed and submerged by the rampaging river.
The angry Indigenes of Anyam-Ogbia, while staging a peaceful procession to call on the State and Federal Government to assist in their plight, displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘Coastal Erosion is Destroying Us, ‘Is Anyama-Ogbia Not Part of Niger Delta?’, ‘Erosion is Exposing Us to Hardship’, ‘Government And Residents’ Buildings Have Been Washed Away’, ‘NDDC Come to Our Aid’ and ‘Federal Government, Bayelsa Government Come and Help Us’, among others.
The Secretary-general of the community, Mr. Potency Owei, called on the Bayelsa State and federal government as well as interventionist agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission and philanthropists to come to their aid by resuming work on the abandoned shoreline protection project awarded to Dredging International Company in 2011 to mitigate the erosion problem.
According to him, the project has since been abandoned as the company has evacuated all its personnel and equipment from the area long ago.
Mrs. Alice Adigbo, a Primary School Teacher in her fifties is one of several locals in Anyama-Ogbia community in Bayelsa State who has been displaced by the rampaging river triggered by Coastal Erosion.
She explains that on a night in 2014, her father’s house went down under the River while she and her children were sleeping as they only managed to escape by the whiskers.
Narrating her ordeal, Mrs. Alice Adigbo, a Primary School Teacher in her fifties is one of several locals in the community who has been displaced by the rampaging river triggered by Coastal Erosion, confirmed to leadership that most times natives live in fear as the natural disaster constantly threatens them even as she lost her family house as far back as 2014,”They have since been taking refuge in the secondary school which also facing threat of erosion.”
She explained that on a night in 2014, her father’s house went down under the River while she and her children were sleeping as they only managed to escape by the whiskers.
Also speaking, Chief Ase Aduku-Humphrey, the 65 year old Head of Compound Chiefs in Anyama regretted that about a kilometer of the town founded in 1655, over 500 houses and three landing jetties are all now under water, lost permanently to the phenomenon.
In her opinion, 71 year old Madam Mercy Seighbofa said the coastal erosion has wreaked havoc as farmlands have also been destroyed, a situation that has induced more hunger and poverty in the area.
Few days back, members of the community staged a peaceful demonstration against their alleged neglect by the state and federal government amid the ravaging coastal erosion.
The head of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Nigeria in Bayelsa State, Alagoa Morris, who led a team of civil society and environmental activists to the area following a recent landslide, described the living condition of the Anyama-Ogbia people as pathetic, urging the authorities to as a matter of urgency provide solution to the ecological challenge.
The Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Bayelsa State, Alabo Nengi James urged the NDDC to ensure resumption of work on the abandoned shoreline protection project in Anyama Ogbia.
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