Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has called for the intervention of the Federal Government after ocean surge overran houses in Odioama Community, Brass Local Government Area, saying coastal communities in the state are in danger of being submerged by the Atlantic Ocean.
Governor Diri raised the alarm when he visited Odioama community to assess the devastation from the ocean encroachment.
The governor’s spokesman, Mr Daniel Alabrah in a statement on Wednesday, quoted the governor as lamenting the effects of coastal erosion on the community and others on the banks of the Atlantic Ocean while addressing the Odioama council of chiefs, elders, youths and women at the community town hall.
He said the governor decided to personally visit the community after sending a team to have a first-hand knowledge of the plight of the people.
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Diri, who was accompanied on the visit by Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, Senator Nimi Barigha-Amange, commissioners and other government officials, assured the people that the state government would embark on a 1.5km shore protection project in order to check the ocean surge that had submerged about 250 buildings in the last 10 years.
Diri said the government would commence the shoreline project while awaiting the federal government’s collaboration, noting that it was beyond the scope of the state government to address such challenges in Odioama, Koluama, Sangana, Agge and other communities facing similar threats.
According to him, engineers in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure will on Wednesday brief the state executive council on the cost of the project.
He called for the intervention and support of the federal government in the shore protection project, stating that the federal government needed to reciprocate Bayelsa State’s immense contribution to the economic wellbeing of the country.
He said: “l did not come here for political campaign but rather to see the plight of the Odioama people and have first hand knowledge of what is happening to the community.
“I cannot sit in my office to hear that houses are giving way. I have been taken round and seen houses that are giving way to the ocean surge. The community’s cemetery has been threatened.
“I will see what the engineers in the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure will bring to the state executive council meeting. We know that the cost will be prohibitive and beyond the state government.
“We call on the federal government that while we use our meagre resources to start something, we want them to also collaborate with us in stopping the sea encroachment in Odioama and other communities. Bayelsa State has given so much to Nigeria and so, let the federal government also reciprocate.
“While we use our meagre resources to construct shoreline protection, I like to call on the federal government to be part of the story in checking the perennial environmental problems of erosion and flooding ravaging our communities.
“Whatever we are doing here will be like a drop in the ocean. But together with the federal government, there is so much we can achieve.”