By Godfrey Bivbere
Ndokwa East Communities in Delta State have cried out to the federal and state governments for help as erosion is threatening to sack the indineges from their ancestral homes, even as they have started migrating to upland areas to seek succour.
The appeal was made in Lagos during the just concluded policy dialogue session to assess the extent of damage done to the communities by flood.
The affected communities are mostly those between Abala, Oshimili and Onya, including the entire Utchi clan, Aboh, Umuolu and others.
In a statement by Captain F. A. Adone and Pual Orie, President and Publicity Secretary of Ndosimili Development Union, NDU, the communities lamented that more people of Ndokwa East origin have been displaced, reducing them to refuge status at peace time.
These problems have had debilitating effects on the revenue of farmers whose farm lands have been washed away thereby affecting their revenue and therefore called on both Federal and State governments’ to urgently intervene.
NDU noted that Ndokwa East which is largely located along the West Bank of River Niger, Ase Creek and other numerous rivers, has its own share of this problem with boats owned and operated by our own people sinking in the river with property worth millions of Naira lost.
The Union therefore charged government to look into cases of rising incidence of boat mishap in the nation’s inland waterways, cautioning boat and ferry operators plying River Niger and other rivers in the area to always use life jackets and obey safety measures while on any voyage.
They also noted that boats plying from Onitsha down stream River Niger often exceed their capacity with loads, stressing that this problem is the proximate cause of boat mishaps in inland waterways.
They lamented the fact that boat users in our creeks do not use life jacks, stating that this habit makes them vulnerable to any mishap. The Union called on the Delta State Government and the management of National Inland Water ways Authority, NIWA to help curb problems of safety on the waterways.
They also decried the insensitivity of AGIP that has been in Ndokwa East land since mid 1950’s, polluting the rivers, lakes and destroying acquatic lives and vegetation of the area in the most reckless manner through its activities, without providing shoreline protection along the River Niger bank.
Describing the oil company as an unfriendly tenant, the union disclosed how AGIP left Okpai community and contiguous communities in agony, watching them being devastated by flood and coastal erosion.