TUOMO—INDIGENES of the riverside town of Tuomo in Burutu Local Government Area, Delta State are presently fleeing their homes, following the collapse of the shore protection wall in the community.
The incident which occurred last Sunday resulted in a massive landslide causing damage to some buildings and the waterfront concrete road pavement and drains in the community.
The Amananaowei of the community, HRM Opokuma Emokpo told NDV that “We have never experienced this kind of land depression or landslide. Within one hour after it started, this large area that you are seeing caved in.
Fear grips natives
“Since it happened, we have been having sleepless nights because we don’t know if it will come to the houses the next minute. You can see that the buildings are beginning to crack and people have started to pack out of their homes.”
He appealed to the state and federal governments to come to their aid by putting the shoreline protection wall in proper shape.
Failure to conduct EIA
Dr. Emibra Agbeotu, an environmental scientist and former member representing Burutu federal constituency at the House of Representatives who also spoke to NDV, blamed the landslide on the failure of the company handling the shoreline protection work to carry out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA “To evaluate and know exactly what is on ground so that they can have a clear understanding of what has to be done.
“Since they didn’t know what was on ground, they went ahead and did the job. But I can also see clearly that after the work was done sometime in 2017, another company came to do some dredging, again without EIA and obviously, they have done what I will describe as excessive reckless extraction of sand from the place. Of course, that has destroyed the lithology and sedimentary processes that formed the rock around this area.
More structures under threat
“It is clear that this has impacted adversely on the land around this place and this is why the land has caved in. You can see that the landslide doesn’t seem to have stopped, looking at the cracks we have seen around the buildings.
“In the present circumstances, the first step will be for engineers to be on site, let them look at the lithology of this place at least to check onward progression of the landslide.”
The member representing Burutu constituency II, Mr. Kennedy Doubri, who visited the community for an on the spot assessment of the landslide, lamented the level of the devastation, saying “the people are scared as a lot of homes have been evacuated. The fear now is that if the rain sets in, it may take a large chunk of the community away.”
Blaming the incident on the failure of the sheet piles and mining of sand from the area without proper assessment of the impact it will have on the community, he said: “I trust the State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, he is very proactive, he has the information already and actions would be taken to meet with the people and provide them with relief materials and support.
Natives want govt assistance
Chairman of the community, Mr. Seaman Ozidi and a community leader Chief Akpola Ekperi also appealed to government to provide relief materials to those who have been rendered homeless by the disaster.