Some of the victims of flood in Orashi area of Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA) and Abu/Odual Local Government Areas of Rivers State have pleaded with the federal government to conduct a forensic audit to ascertain the level of damage on their land.
A nonagenarian and native of Erema community in Egi land, ONELGA, Mr. Che Ibegwure cried that the federal government should order for the forensic audit in his community to ascertain the level of damage before embarking on remediation to restore the environment.
According to Ibegwure who recently turned 90, before the flood disaster, his Egi clan and neighbouring communities were suffering environmental degradation, effect from activities of oil multinationals in the area.
He spoke when Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoN) visited him other victims of flood in the area.
The nonagenarian disclosed that based on the already degraded environment, this year’s flood affected them badly. He recalled that the community had similar experience in 2012 but could not compare with the 2022 incident.
Ibegwure lamented: “This flood issue, the one of this year is more complex than the last one that occurred in 2012. It really devastated the area. The worst of it all, this oil exploitation and its negative impact has already disorganised the environment.
“Whether we like it or not, they have been exploiting oil here since 1958-62. The oil companies have been able to deforest the area, so there is no more protection as such, the environment has been destroyed, intimidated so much.
“This area is a free zone for environmental impact one way or the other: oil and gas explosions. So there is no protection again. This very 2022 flood devastated many buildings, even people died, illnesses everywhere. If you go round the community you will see alot of sick people, including myself.
“I was so happy the community even have to witness the relief materials brought in here by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) for the refugees in the two camps we have here.”
He said the impact demand forensic examination explained that the aftermath of the incidents is affecting their health seriously. “I am a victim. My family is experiencing alot of illnesses we didn’t expect. I am still calling for the forensic auditing of the environment for us to know the gravity of damage done on the environment.
“We know the flood maybe a natural disaster but let them first exploit the situation of establishing a forensic auditing of the people to know whether most of the things happening here are all natural disaster or caused by human activities”.
Similarly, Dandi Mgbenwa, a community leader from Okwuzi, Egbema in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, disclosed to THISDAY that flood claimed about six lives in his community.
Mgbenwa explained that it took extra help to save his aged mother from dying in the flood. He said his community was hit badly by the natural disaster, claiming that homes, especially those of mud houses have wiped away leaving only debris in the area.
Meanwhile, the ERA took out time to send some relief materials to recently affected communities in River state.
According to the leader of the team and programme manager heading the Port Harcourt office, Kentebe Ebiaridor, the gesture came as the organisation did a follow up to ascertain the impact the flood had on the communities and livelihoods.
He called for urgent action from the federal government and all other stakeholders to ensure that the people return back to their normal live and provide a lasting solution to environment damage in the area.