Nigeria

Delta community faces extinction as ocean surges

Ogulagha, a coastal community in Burutu Local Government Area (LGA), Delta State, is currently facing extinction due to the rising level of ocean.

Ocean surge, according to findings, is already eroding their houses and cemeteries in the community into the Forcados River.

At a dialogue organised by the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) recently to mark the 2022 World Oceans Day, a leader of Ogulagha, John Bebapere buttressed the findings

Ogulagha is a major host to the Forcados terminal and about 3.30 hours to Warri in Warri South LGA.

Speaking at the dialogue, Bebapere disclosed that Ogulagha “is under threat with the rising level of the ocean. Erosion has almost taken over their community.”

He, therefore, urged relevant government agencies and oil companies to come to their aid, requesting for shoreline protection “to protect the community from the surging erosion from the river.

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“So far, they had lost uncountable houses and about 200 corpses to erosion sweeping through the community’s burial ground and appealed to relevant agencies to urgently intervene.”

The community leader also lamented the impact of the oil spill on their river, saying the pollution had created a huge economic problem for the predominantly fishing community.

“The oil companies operating here are contributing largely to the pollution of our river. We suffer from 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”, he said.

Some indigenes of the community, Madan Prince Musa, Blessing Aratawei and Clement Gbamokumor, who also spoke during the dialogue, said most species of fishes had long disappeared from the Forcados River because of oil pollution.

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The communities expressed gratitude to HOMEF for coming to the area on the occasion of this year’s World Ocean Day, pleading that they should globalise their plight.

In separate interviews, Project Lead, Fossil Politics and Climate Change, Mr. Cadmus Atake-Enade and Head of Media, HOMEF, Kome Odhomor said the dialogue was all about bringing to fore some of the challenges of the area on the occasion of this year’s World Ocean Day.

“This will make the relevant quarters to be aware of the challenges. The community dialogues, a project of HOMEF, is a diagnostic exercise aimed at providing space for community members to review environmental situation of their areas and to identify needed areas of action to preserve and defend their heritage.”

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