Stories by Emma Amaize, NDV Editor
POLOBUBO- FOOD shortage has struck the residents of Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community, Egbema Kingdom in Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, displaced by a rioting sea flood that submerged the riverside settlement, penultimate week.
Several villagers, including anglers, farmers and religious leaders, narrated their heartbreaking experiences to NDV, calling on the federal, state, local government and interventionist agencies to come to their rescue.
Tales of woe
The community chair, Chief Morgan Oniyeburutan said many villagers were living from hand to mouth since the flood destroyed their fishponds, farmlands and other means of livelihood.
Mr. Gabriel Yolo, a retired Inspector of Police, who lost his fishpond to the flood, said: “The flood damaged my sources of livelihood. Presently, it threatens our lives in this community and we have no food to eat.”
Other farmers, Mathias Ojiko, Aghor Godwin, Gabriel Pereware Ojiko and Samuel Lesiagho, who lost fishponds and plantain plantations, lamented that it was as if their world had ended, as there was nothing to eat. Miss Rejah Success, a student of Tsekelewu Secondary School, where flood overran the Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Center laboratory, chairs and benches, said the students were at home and have not resumed since the catastrophe, appealing to the authorities to address the problem.
The presiding pastor of the First Baptist Church, Tsekelewu/ Polobubor, Rev. Kenneth Toruwei, where flood sacked the congregation said: “The flood which disrupted our worship on that day damaged our Yamaha electric keyboard (organ), bass guitar, lead guitar, three pairs of wireless microphone, electric mixer (equalizer), power amplifiers, speakers and others.”
Waiting for relief materials
The Chairman of Warri North Local Government Area, Hon. Smart Asekutu and other government officials visited the community to assess the damage. He said he would furnish the organs of government with the report, assuring that “anytime from now, you will see action.”
However, concerned leaders of the community have kick-started efforts to raise N20 million to purchase rice, garri, beans, palm oil, groundnut oil and essential food items within one week for the affected relatives to ease their plight in the interim.
Worst flood ever —Abulu, President- Peneral
President-general of the community, Dr. Bright Abulu, who called for the dredging of the canal to open up to the Atlantic Ocean noted that extreme rainfall and seawater incursion caused the flood.
He also said the government should move the people to a higher ground to save the people from such harrowing experience in the future.
“We are in a very difficult and overwhelming situation as even our children can no longer go to school. It has forced the two government secondary and primary schools to go on break.
“The entire community and surrounding villages are underwater. We had severe flooding in 2012 but the experience was not as harrowing as this. The flood has completely taken over and all we can see and feel now is untold hardship and hunger staring us in the face. This disaster affected everyone.
“We are obviously in an emergency that the Federal Government, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, the chairman of Warri North, Hon. Smart Asekutu, and their relevant agencies must intervene urgently to mitigate the sufferings of our people.
“The Polobubo (Tsekelewu) community is very strategic to the economic interest of Nigeria and Delta State as it is host to major international oil companies, IOCs, national oil and gas companies, including Chevron Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Exploration and Production Limited (NEPL), Conoil Producing Limited and Sahara Energy Services Limited.
“This is where they do their business. We are urging them to share in our plight and moments of extreme pain, by ensuring that they come together with the government, and act fast in coming to our rescue,” he said.