BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA, Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has declared that the over 70 communities in Niger Delta region have been trapped by water hyacinth, which has taken over the creeks and waterways.
It said the communities, mostly located in Egbema Kingdom and environs in Delta and Edo States, are usually trapped in the riverine areas of the Niger Delta, especially during rainy seasons.
IYC, in a statement signed by its president, Pereotubo R Oweilaemi, which was made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, called on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to intervene.
The statement reads in part: “The riverine communities in the Niger Delta have been suffering from the perennial problem of blockade of the waterways by water hyacinth.
“Many of the communities are usually trapped in the riverine areas during this season. If not for the interventions of government agencies, there would have been a big problem.
“Currently, over 70 communities in Egbema Kingdom and environs, both in Delta and Edo States, have been suffering from this scourge. Waterweeds have taken over the entire creeks in the Benin River and its estuaries, thereby, making life miserable for the inhabitants.
“As we speak now, communities such as: Ofunama, Opuama, Polobubou, Ogbodugbudo, Ogboinbiri, among others in Egbema Kingdom, are being trapped by the water hyacinth, which has locked up the entire creeks.
“People cannot go about their lawful businesses as movements in and out of the affected communities are restricted. All the access roots to the communities, including the Sapele axis, have been taken over by the floating weeds.
“IYC is calling on NDDC to immediately respond to the plight of these communities. Let the Commission extend its intervention projects on water hyacinth to the Egbema Kingdom and other affected Niger Delta communities.
“NDDC should do all it can to save these communities from the looming humanitarian crisis arising from the scourge.
“Unless urgent steps are taken to cushion the effects, we foresee epidemic of human disaster that will be of unimaginable proportion.”