This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Eight Houses Sink Into Holes in Bayelsa

In what represents a major threat to life, eight houses suddenly got swallowed up in holes that caved in at the weekend in Okoloba community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Although no casualty was recorded, the entire properties of the people were lost.

Expectedly, the people have started leaving the community in droves.

THISDAY gathered that the people woke up to see that two of the houses have disappeared into sinkholes.

And while they were yet wondering and pondering on what happened, within a few hours, six other houses including the home of a 69-year old ex-service man sank into holes.

Most indigenes of the community led by the paramount ruler, Chief Orumobiri Woyergikuro, attributed the landslide disaster to the activities of River Nun which continues to encrouch in the community's land.

They were particularly angry at the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) which they accused of refusing to commence work on the Shore Protection Work awarded the Dredging Atlantic Company in 2008.

Woyergikuro lamented that the failure of the NDDC and the Dredging Atlantic to tidy up the shore protection works had cost the area untold losses.

He noted that though the delay was the cause, the method proposed by the dredging firm and being used in the neighboring Sabageria would not solve the Okoloba situation.

"If it will work here, all they will do is close the swamp before commencement of shore protection works", the community leader said.

Contacted on the development, a Senior Officer attached to the Dredging Atlantic Company's Port Harcourt office, Mr.Alex Ogieva, said the legal hurdles placed before the company by some members of the community over the demand for N50 million compensation for dredged sand in the area stopped work on the project in 2009.

"Some people who claimed to be land owners took the company to court.

They claimed that the sand used is not free and wanted the sum of over N50million.We decided to go with them to court, while we moved all equipment to Sabageria end of the job.

We are on site in the Sabageria end and the shoreline work is going as scheduled."

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