April 20, 2010

Erosion threatens Bayelsa community

By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Unless urgent remedial steps are taken, the old road connecting Sagbama main market in Bayelsa State might be lost to the rampaging Forcados river.

The ailing road and several other buildings along the bank of the river are on the verge of being washed away by erosion.

Already, the erosion control device put in place during the administration of  late Chief Melford Okilo when the entity known as Bayelsa was part of old Rivers State, had since collapsed due to neglect by successive administrations.

Driving through a section of the bumpy road close to the culvert around the market area could be scary, as erosion has turned the once wide road into a death trap.

This reporter who visited the riverine community yesterday observed that over the years, a greater part of the community land along the river bank had been lost to the river.

It was also observed that the old road which was several metres away from the river is now on the fringe the river, with the latter lashing dangerously on a section of the road close to the ancient market.

Some families, it was further learnt, have been forced to relocate from their homes as a result of the erosion menace.

Also, one of the first estates to be built in the community is also being threatened by the river, with a portion of its fence on the throes of collapsing.

A concerned native, whose building is about ten metres away from the river, said they were now living in constant fear due to the devastating impact of the erosion.

“As you can see, we are living at the mercy of the river. If anybody had predicted that we would be threatened by the river, I would have dismissed this with a wave of the hand but here we are,” he lamented, pointing at the river lashing on the fence of his building.