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Ocean surge threatens Bayelsa communities

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BY samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—The ancient coastal settlement of Koluama clan in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State is at the mercy of the ocean, as the sea has washed away all the buffer land protecting the communities.

Already, the Federal Fishery Ocean Terminal, which was located in the area in the 70s had since been washed away by the sea.
The elders and chiefs of Koluama clan, yesterday, in Yenagoa, raised a fresh alarm over the ocean threat, which claimed the original Koluama settlement in 1953.

The Ibenanaowei of Koluama clan, King Solomon Edi-Mangi, the Kolu XI, flanked by other prominent indigenes of the troubled area, including the Amananaowei of Koluama I community, HRH J. Leghemo and the Amananaowei of Koluama II community, HRH Newton Ogboinbiri-Mienye, blamed their woes on a combination of forces.

The monarch said: “Our woes started in 1953 when a combination of perennial high flood of the lower Niger Delta basin and coastal erosion precipitated by powerful explosions from oil and gas exploration and seismic activities of the then Shell D’ Arcy, predecessor of the present Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, washed Koluama city into the sea.

“On June 15, the inhabitants of Koluama I community woke up to see a brand new river that has been suddenly forced open by the rampaging waves of the Atlantic Ocean on parts of the remaining buffer land and its vegetation that shielded Koluama I community from the direct attack of tidal waves from the sea.

“The new river that has been forced open now connects the Koluama River on whose bank the community is situated facing the Atlantic, thereby, exposing the community to the direct attacks of waves from the sea.
“Prior to Sunday’s incident, Abadi Olobia and Funiweiama had been washed away by previous tidal waves from the sea which is now threatening to submerge Koluama II community.”

He called on the state and Federal Governments to urgently, dispatch a team of environmental experts in coastal or marine erosion to the area to assess the situation and take immediate actions to address the problem.
The Federal Government, he added, should, through its relevant agencies, commission a comprehensive environmental study of the impacted areas as well as provide shoreline protection and embankment of the Koluama communities from Digetoru Ruver estuary on the West to Sangana River in the East bordering Southern Ijaw and Brass Local Government Areas of the state.

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