… CALLS FOR INTERVENTION FROM THE ECOLOGICAL FUND
Bayelsa State Governor, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, on Saturday, visited Odi community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state, to inspect the level of damage caused by a landslide.
The landslide, which occurred on Friday after heavy rains swept away houses and property worth millions of naira into the nearby river, destroyed electricity cables, and threw the town into darkness.
A press release by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said Governor Dickson commiserated with the victims, describing the incident as an ecological disaster that was not peculiar to Odi.
He stressed that other communities in the state like Akassa, Egweama, Koluama, Twon-Brass, Agbere and Toru-Orua were under threat from similar challenges.
The Governor was accompanied on the inspection tour by his Deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiigha John-Jonah (rtd), Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Ebipatei Apaingolo, the State Chairman òf the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Moses Cleopas, among others.
He said the Federal Government did not seem to understand the magnitude of ecological and environmental challenges facing the people of the state.
Governor Dickson called on the Federal Government to intervene in the grave ecological threat facing the town through the Ecological Fund under its control.
He stressed that, while it would be good and expected for the Federal Government to wade into the issue, the state Government would commence immediate steps to respond to the development within the limits of available resources.
He directed the Ministries of Environment, and Works and Infrastructure to jointly undertake a technical assessment of the area, the impact of the landslide and recommend lasting solutions.
He said, “We have seen the devastation caused by the landslide and this is not something new to most of our communities
“We have the Ecological Fund managed by the Federal Government and these are the purposes for which it was set up. It was for people who actually need that type of intervention”.
“The situation in Odi is pathetic, our prayers are with the people of this community and its leadership. I have seen the houses destroyed and swept into the river but no life was lost”
“We will not wait for the Federal Government or its intervention agencies. It would be nice if they come to our aid like they ought to and i will make that request but seeing our people in this state, despite the funding constraint, we will still start something immediately”.
Governor Dickson, however, expressed joy that no one died due to the disaster and assured the people of government’s commitment to tackle the environmental challenges facing them, despite paucity of funds.