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Erosion: Bayelsa community gives govt. 7-day ultimatum

Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa

Apparently fed up with several failed promises by the Bayelsa State Government in the last 10 years to save them from a menacing coastal erosion, the people of Ogbogoro community, in Yenagoa metropolis, have given seven days ultimatum  to proffer lasting solution to the coastal erosion menace.

The community threatened that failure of the state government to meet their demands, they would embark on a ‘peaceful but impact-making’ protest that would spur them to occupy Government House Gate with their cooking pots , canopies and mattresses for indefinite occupation of the gate until the contractor is mobilised to site.

The hapless community lamented  that coastal erosion has claimed several lives and properties in the last 10 years, stressing that they could not fight the state government in spite of several failed promises to save the ugly situation.

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Erosion in the community had reportedly affected adversely school premises, properties worth millions Naira as well as many lives had been lost to erosion.

The claimed that despite these, there had been no help from the state government that secures monthly ecological funds but could not come to their aid.

“We are tired of everyday super story from both the  federal and state governments,” said Comrade Gwegwe in company of members of the group at a press  briefing, on Wednesday, where they berated Governor Douye Diri for his failed  promises to the people of Obogoro Community.

“The project should be more important to government because several lives have been lost and hundreds of buildings have collapsed into the river.

“How do the governor and political appointees sleep comfortably in their houses when lives are been lost every day due to the coastal erosion”.

“How do they feel when a civil servant  laboured for thirty to thirty five years and saved money to build,  and within a twinkle of an eye the building just enter into the river or what do you say of a farmer who build their houses through farming and all disappear just like that.

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“Yet the government play deaf ear, it’s quite unfortunate,” he lamented.

“We have lost close to two hundred houses in the last ten years and government has not deem it fit to organize something for the people that lost their houses to start life afresh .

“Is like they are deceiving us everyday. I don’t know whether somebody somewhere is collecting the money or what? We are tied of failed promises”.

According to him, a contractor was assigned to work on the erosion but wouldn’t know if he was mobilised to site.

“The contractor stopped working since last year November and the government has not deem it necessary for any  explanation as to why the project is still lingering.

“It has been promise, promise, promise and promise. The erosion project in Obogoro Community has become like an Indian film and we are fed up”.

He also explained how the issue was taken to the national Assembly and promises were made but nothing has come out of it.

“The people of Obogoro Community has gone to the the National Assembly about three times where federal government made several promises that have not seen the light of the day.

“We have written several letters to NDDC, Federal government agencies, Bayelsa state government, the people in charge of coastal erosion.

“There is no office we have not written to, we have gone on courtesy visits to the governor Douye Diri, the deputy governor, speaker of the state Assembly and members representing Yenagoa Constituency 1 in the state Assembly. We have visited who is who in this matter all to no avail.

“Obogoro Community has been passing through coastal erosion for over a decade. It’s unfortunate that we find our system where government don’t have value for human life.

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“Year in year out the politicians come for campaigns  and made promises and they go back, at  the end of the day the promises are not fulfilled.

“It’s quite unfortunate that Obogoro  community that is in the heart of Yenagoa the state capital has been battling this coastal erosion for this number of years”

Comrade David West, a member of Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO) in the state, also remarked at the press briefing  that  Governor Diri has failed in his promise to the people as even his predecessor could not fulfill his promise about the coastal erosion,  and demanded that the commissioner for environment should be sacked.

“Governor Diri’s promise is fake; the  November 11 governorship election should be a determinant.

“People should vote against the system with anger as the system did not value life.

“Former governor Dickson promised and failed, now governor Douye is doing the same thing with fake promises.

“The commissioner for Environment should be sacked because he lacks the capability and capacity to handle that Ministry because it’s too sensitive for him.

” If the governor believes that his promises are not fake should swing into action and save the people of Obogoro Community”.