By Emma Amaize
ONYAH—THE people of Onyah community, located on the bifurcation of the Lower Niger in Ndokwa East Local Government Area, Delta State, have raised the alarm over the devastating erosion that has pulled down houses and displaced over 30 villagers.
President-general of the community, Chief E.M. Ndidi, in a Save Our Soul message to the Commissioner for Environment in the state, dated January 23, said: “We write to bring to your notice the ecological challenge we, the people of Onyah kingdom of Ndokwa East face on a regular basis.
“Regular land erosion occurs displacing families, this we believe is caused by the river undercurrents coupled with the heavy movement of oil barges transporting crude oil from Okpai-Aseomoku through Onyah to Aggeh in Bayelsa state.
“Just recently on 13 January, four buildings slipped into the river, displacing families, fortunately no life was lost except for valuables,” he stated.
Two days after the SOS to the Commissioner, the community sent another letter to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon Friday Osanebi, representing the area, drawing his attention to their plight, while also thanking him for the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs projects he influenced to the area.
A villager, who spoke to NDV, said: “Onyuku Primary School, Onyah , is equally about to be swept by erosion just as some cracks are already being noticed in the staff room of the community’s secondary school.
“This is what is happening to houses in the community, which cannot withstand the violent flow of water from the River Niger,” he added.
“At least 30 people escaped death at Onyah community when four buildings were washed away by erosion. Although, no life was lost in the incident, the apprehension that gripped residents of the locality has forced them to start relocating to safer places,” he said.
The source asserted: “We are sad that many months after we cried out to the state government and called on the commissioner to visit the community to see things for himself, he has not deemed it fit to do so.”