Residents of Ayetoro, a riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State have protested and threatened to relocate to the state government’s house at Alagbaka in Akure, over alleged government’s neglect and unbearable conditions which sea incursion has caused them.
Our correspondent who visited the community located in the southern senatorial district of the state, reported the damages the sea incursion have caused the residents.
It would be recalled that towards the end of last year, over 2,000 people were reportedly displaced, 200 houses destroyed in Ocean surge in community.
The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions, chanting solidarity songs.
Speaking during the protest, the Moderator of Ilaje Advancement Forum, Daodu Juwon, said Sub-communities like Gbagira, Akinsolu, Mese have been swept away by the ocean surge noting that, members of his forum are ready to occupy the state capital if nothing is done.
According to the group, “For the past two years, we observed that NDDC has been up and doing in every other parts of Ondo State but the mandate community, the oil bearing community upon which it was established at the first instance is suffering untold hardship .
“The commission has not been able to conduct any project but we observed that it has been up and doing as far as Akoko-North to implement projects in areas where they have never any economic impact or ecological disaster arising from oil exploration activities and we find this as the highest act of injustice on the people of Ilaje.
According to them, “We find out that the continuous peace and harmonious existence of Ilaje people have been taking for granted, we observed that the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NNDC and Niger Delta Affairs has not done anything to assuage the sufferings of Ayetoro people that has been hard hit by perennial ocean attack.
“We call upon our representative, Hon. Kolade Akinjo to stop playing dumb in this instance. We expect that he should be up and doing beyond purchasing JAMB form which is the job of a councilor. He should rise up to his responsibilities and hold contractors into account”.
The Public Relations Officer of the community, Victor Akinluwa said the ocean surge comes midnight when no one could save any of their properties.
According to Victor Akinluwa, “We have long called the attention of the government to our challenges but nobody is listening”.
Another resident, Grace Lelawa said, people in the community are scared that they may be totally wiped out by the sea in the next few days, stressing that the government has abandoned the community to be at the mercy of ecological disasters.
A traditional ruler in the town, Oba Olorunmbe Ojagbohun who described the situation as devastating called on the government at all levels and well meaning Nigerians to come to their rescue by putting an embarkment and reclamation.
“Half of the residential places have been swept away. Places that use to be buildings are now places where Fisher men fish. We have lost count of houses.
“It is a devastation, many people have been rendered homeless and many have become refugees in their own community. We have no where to go, 98 percent of my people are fishermen, I want to appeal to the Federal Government, state government and well meaning Nigerians to come to our aide”.
Asides homes and properties that have been destroyed, the residents now live in fear of getting wiped out by the sea and going into extinction in the next days or months.