By Famous Ozobo
Indigenes of the ancient Ogulagha community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State have called on the governor of the state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, SPDC, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry, NDM, and Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC to urgently intervene in the ocean surge ravaging the community.
The community stakeholders who remarked said erosion had carved part of the community shores, adding that several houses, farmlands and cemeteries had been allegedly washed away into the ocean.
This call was made by the Chairman of the community, John Bebapere, during a one-day dialogue seminar held in the community by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, to mark this year’s United Nations World Oceans Day 2022.
The community Chairman, Bebapere appealed for shoreline protection to protect and end the surging erosion in the community.
According to him, the community had lost over 200 corpses to erosion ravaging the community’s cemeteries through the sea, adding that urgent and holistic steps be taken to protect the community from further occurrences of the menace.
Bebapere, also decried the negative impacts of the oil spill in Forcados River, narrating that the pollution had caused serious economic woes for the predominantly fishing community.
The statement reads: “The oil companies operating here are contributing largely to the pollution of our river. We suffer erosion problems here. Swift erosion is washing away our corpses. Our greatest fear now is that the erosion should also not start coming to sweep human beings into the sea.”
The chairman who also debunked allegations that some indigenes of the area were responsible for the attack on oil facilities which was the reason for pollution in the area, said owners of the oil facilities and security men deployed to protect the facilities were the ones that could speak on oil theft and related issues.
“The people that own the facilities and the military deployed to protect oil facilities in the area are those to be questioned,” he noted.
Other residents of the community, who also spoke during the dialogue, narrated that most species of fish had long disappeared from the Forcados river because of oil pollution.
However, the residents who expressed gratitude to HOMEF for coming to mark this year’s World Ocean Day in the community, appealed that the plight of the Ogulagha kingdom should be globalised.
The project was led by Mr Cadmus Atake-Enade, Fossil Politics and Climate Change, and Head of Media, HOMEF, Kome Odhomor.
The duo in a separate chat with newsmen stated that the dialogue was to bring to the global space some of such challenges being faced by rural dwellers in the country.