….Demands for the release of 3.6bn reclamation and shore protection contract domicile into the national ecological fund account, Federal Ministry of Environment 38-yrs after
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Residents of Gbanraun kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, has decried the poor state of living conditions, high mortality rates following the federal ministry of environment neglect to complete Gbanraun reclamation and shore protection works phase1 which should have commenced since 1980.
Fieldingquestions from journalists, Chairman Gbanraun Kingdom, Comr. Ombalamo Callman, stated that “Gbanraun kingdom is one of the major oil- producing communities in Niger Delta having one of the biggest oil reserves discovered in 1974, we stay to watch the billions of barrels of crude oil being taken away from our soil daily yet nothing to show for it.”
Continuing, he stated that the ministry of environment combat strategy for the perennial flood problem at Gbanraun designed for Gbanraun phase 1, started by Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration was as follows, reclamation of affected zone, shore protection of the affected zone, landing jettier, building of the destroyed 700 housing units, drainage of the affected zone and building of the destroyed primary and secondary school and cottage hospital.
“The Reclamation by hydraulic sand filling of an area of about 150 hectares, living the reclaimed embankment slopes with flexible amour revetment and drainage network over the reclaimed site with outfall works and mooring facilities.”.
“Gbanraun kingdom, a clan, consisting of 18 villages and 215 fishing settlements; with over 182 oil wells in Bayelsa State of Nigeria have been bedeviled with perennial flood/erosion problems with attendant devastating consequences on several lives, houses and valuable properties worth billions of naira for the past 45 years. It was as a result of these calamitous disasters that the Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration initiated the Gbanraun flood and erosion control project in 1982 through the National Ecological Fund.
“Gbanraun community is submerged by calamitous flood every year. As at 2018, flood made another historical disaster, where 5 aged persons died in their sleep bed as the flood overtook their community at night. Erosion is fast eating away the soil, the right to live in condition worthy of human beings and the right to shelter is amongst the devastating problem facing the community.
It was reliably gathered that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), Gen.Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), and the civilian administration of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo showed commendable zeal towards the project by initiating and instituting six different presidential inspection teams. The last of such presidential inspection teams which was carried out in July, 2008 was led by Engr. Idi Yang, Deputy Director Flood/Erosion and Coaster Zone Management Division Federal Ministry of Environment. This inspection team put the estimated cost of the project at about 4.2 billion naira.
Eleven years after, with countless petitions written to the appropriate quarters, residents of Gbanraun are disappointed that in spite of these high powered visits which initially raised hopes, their sorrows and pains continues to fester as only 10% of the project was executed with no integral drain which inevitably led to the washing away of the sand used for sand filling.
They also averred that the project was captured in 2010/11 budget in the Niger Delta Ministry and that procurement process was completed, but the project could not take off because there was no cash backing for it. They also expressed their frustration at the removal of the budgetary proposal for the project from the budget of the Niger Delta Ministry by the Federal Ministry of Finance in the year 2012 budget.