N/Delta communities appeal to FG over coastal erosion

Residents of communities located near the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline in the Niger Delta region have appealed to the Federal Government and relevant authorities to save them from the devastating effects of coastal erosion.

The affected areas are Forcados and Ogulagha in Delta State; Anibeze, Peremabiri, Famgbe, Anyama Ijaw, Anyama Ogbia, Twon-Brass, Sangana, Ekeni and Ezetu in Bayelsa State.

Also, Kula, Soku and Bonny in Rivers State and Queens Town in Cross River State are being threatened by the Atlantic Ocean surge.

Henry Otonye, an indigene of Sangana, said the community was gradually disappearing from the surface of the earth, having lost substantial part of its ancestral land to ocean encroachment.

Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist and indigene of Southern Ijaw, in Bayelsa State, warned that apart from the imminent disappearance of  communities, there is the threat of increased inter communal clashes due to scramble for space.

“People are now relocating from most of these communities. Communities have lost roads, church buildings, school buildings, among others.

“When you go to areas on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean such as Brass, Sangana, Odioma, Koluama, even graves and ancestral homes are now inside the water.

“Homes are being deserted. You can see that this can lead to communal crisis when people begin to shift inwards to lands where they are in contention with their neighbours,” Morris said.

He called for concerted efforts to halt the encroachment of the Atlantic which is worsened by rising sea levels due to increased oil exploration activities.

Princess Elizabeth Egbe, a human rights activist, said in spite of  the 13 per cent derivation fund, coastal communities were neglected.

She decried the hazards faced by the people who are now at the mercy of ocean encroachment and coastal erosion.