Landlords, residents protest as coastal erosion wreaks havoc in Bayelsa

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The people of Obogoro community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, where at least six persons have died due to the worsening effect of coastal erosion, stormed the streets of Yenagoa, the state capital, in protest today.

The aggrieved residents issued a seven-day ultimatum to the state government to act urgently to save their community from the looming danger of erosion or face continuous protests until their demands are met.

The placard-carrying protesters said all their complaints on the ravaging erosion in their community to the government for over 12 years have yielded no results.

According to the convener of the Save Obogoro Community from Erosion campaign, Mr. Ada Gwegwe, the community is on the verge of being wiped away by erosion with over 100 houses already washed away into the river by erosion.

He said: “We have witnessed several failed promises from different governments and agencies. Why are they playing politics with this project? Since the 2022 flood, the contractor stopped the work. We are losing lives, building and our lands and still no response, and government hasn’t even visited to console the people who are displaced.

“We hereby issue a seven-day ultimatum. We will go on the streets and protest. If we don’t see the contractor back on site, we won’t leave the front of Government House till our demands are met.”

A landlord in the community, Chief Richard Somukima, stated that former governor Seriake Dickson also visited the community after their appeals and promised to provide a measure to reduce the worsening coastal erosion affecting the community but never fulfilled the promise.

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“The government has continued to promise and failed us. We were even told that an IDP camp will be created, but nothing ever came to be. In the next two years, if things are not tackled, we will lose the entire community,” he said.

Another landlord, Ayibakoro Thomas, said: “I lost my land, and other people lost their houses to coastal erosion. I used to have a neighbour who was living by the river but water washed her house away while sleeping at night, and in the morning we didn’t see anything there.”

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