To tell you the truth no one is comfortable with the way the River Nun is expanding while the community land is shrinking by the day. It is like a story now when we tell strangers that this community has lost over fifty meters of land in the last few years. And, if the trend should continue unchecked, we may join the monkeys in the swamps very soon. We are of the view that the dredging activities of Shell around us also have negative effect that is leading to the collapsing river banks and expansion of the River here. We are calling for assistance from government before we are wiped out from this location. What are we going to tell our children coming behind? - Maurice Jonathan

GPS Coordinate: Elev: -9m, N 04°38.395’, E006°04.910’  
Peremabiri community is one among several Ijaw communities in Boma Clan of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area that settles along the Nun River. Farming and fishing are the major occupations of the people.  Apart from hosting the biggest rice farm [abandoned for several years now]in west Africa established by the moribund  Niger Delta Basin Development Authority [NDBDA], it is also host  to several oil wells including Shell’s Diebu Flow station, wellheads and pipelines.
Peremabiri has had its fair share of the negative impacts of oil exploration/exploitation activities: oil spills/fire and the effects of gas flaring that is still on-going at the flow station.
Information reached ERA/FoEN that the community was almost going into extinction due to river encroachment caused by dredging activities of Shell and because of this phenomenon it became necessary to visit the community and get an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
ERA field monitors were led round the community by the current and past chairmen of Peremabiri Community Development Committee [CDC], Mr. Maurice Jonathan and Dickson Peresuote.
An account of the field trip is below:

TESTIMONIES
Mrs. Grace Aaron
Just come and see the way the river has eaten the land and threatening to swallow my building. Several other houses have gone into the river and, for me and my household we are really scared that ours might be the next. If you look very well you will agree with me that our house is just less than three or four meters to the river. And we are very much concerned; day and night, as this matter is beyond what the community can handle…. Even before we go to sleep, the thought of being swept into the river with the house always come to the fore. Wherever we are [whether in the farm or elsewhere], our thought finds it hard to forget the danger facing us right now. We are hoping that the authorities will hear our cries and quickly come to rescue us from the ecological problem facing us. This is one of the major problems that occupy the minds of many in this community. We need help urgently. I am appealing to the authorities to come to our assistance as soon as possible. Otherwise, God forbid, you may not see this building again if you visit the community again.

Dickson Peresuote, Chairman of the Community Development Committee [CDC] Peremabiri
As you can see we are just few meters from the fast flowing Nun River. When I say close, I am placing emphasis on the fact that where we are standing right now may be inside the river sooner than we can imagine. We have lost so much of our community to the River Nun. Even yesterday as some youths were playing football in the field when they chased the ball to that area [pointing] at the water front, the ground on which they stood collapsed into the river. And, if you watch you can see with me that the river has advanced too close to the concrete road in the community. If we take a tape and measure, I am sure the space between the river and the concrete road is now less than three meters in that section of the town. Everyone in the community is worried about this threatening ecological issue. When we were young, this community was very far from the football field. That is why community leaders are not happy with the way Shell has continued to carry out dredging activities within our environment. Shell has continued to dredge at some sections of the River Nun and along the Diebu Creek every three years or so without recourse to Environmental Impact Assessment. We are of the belief that what Shell is doing is having a direct relationship with this loss of land to the river in our community. And we want solution to this problem. As a peaceful people, we want the authorities to prevail on SPDC and also intervene on this matter. I should use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government interventionist agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] and the recently created Niger Delta Ministry to come to our aid. Unless urgent steps are taken to arrest the rapidly advancing river, this community will disappear soon. Yes, behind our community is a swamp and, we cannot go and build our houses in the swamp. This is our predicament.

Maurice Jonathan
To tell you the truth no one is comfortable with the way the River Nun is expanding while the community land is shrinking by the day. It is like a story now when we tell strangers that this community has lost over fifty meters of land in the last few years. And, if the trend should continue unchecked, we may join the monkeys in the swamps very soon. We are of the view that the dredging activities of Shell around us also have negative effect that is leading to the collapsing river banks and expansion of the River here. We are calling for assistance from government before we are wiped out from this location. What are we going to tell our children coming behind?

OBSERVATION/CONCLUSION
One of the very first observations is the elevation of the community as revealed by the GPS reading. The -9m reading shows that the community is far below sea level. It was noticed that some sections of the community concrete road were less than 3 meters from the waters of the River Nun. And, while some houses were also situated less than the same distance [3 meters] from the river, some have no space between them and the waters of the river, bathed by the tidal waves from marine vessels.

RECOMMENDATIONS
1    The people of Peremabiri should remain peaceful as they draw attention of the authorities to their plight
2    The State and National Assembly Members representing this people should not rest until something is done to address the ecological threat faced by the people of Peremabiri
3    The Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] and Ministry of the Niger Delta should rise to the occasion and visit the community with a view to carrying out sand filling and shoreline protection.
4    Shell should show proof of Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] it conducted before it was allowed to go ahead with dredging activities around the community.




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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

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