The Senator representing Ondo South on the floor of the Senate, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, CFR, on Tuesday, presented a paper on the plight of the residents of the Ayetoro community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, urging the Senate to compel the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to, as a matter of urgency, prevent the community from being washed off by the Atlantic Ocean.
He urged the Senate to compel the NDDC to work with relevant Federal ministries to embark on intervention projects that would prevent the seaside community from sea incursion which wreaks havoc in the community annually.
President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, gave the approval for immediate intervention to be carried out in the community
Commending Senator Ibrahim for presenting the plight of the people of Ayetoro before the lawmakers, the President of the Senate ordered the immediate probe of the intervention fund.
In his presentation, Senator Ibrahim told the Senate that the community is responsible for 5.4 percent of the total crude oil production in Ondo State, and oil exploration activities in the community have been undermined by natural disasters that have rendered many residents homeless.
According to the senator, “Ayetoro Community and its environment account for 5.4 % of the 60,000 barrels per day of Ondo State’s crude oil production output amounting to about 3.7 % of Nigeria’s total oil production and this ranks Ondo State as the 5th biggest oil-producing state under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act.
He, however, lamented that “devasting sea incursion and ocean surges have been the albatross of the Ayetoro community for over two decades with hundreds of homes and properties being destroyed annually resulting in the displacement of indigenes of the community and consequently, the disruption of oil exploration in the area.”
Ibrahim recalled: “The oil-producing Ayetoro is a phenomenal historical and cultural settlement along the coaster stretch of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State and is also a major source of revenue for the nation.
“Also Ayetoro Community used to be one of the most prosperous riverine settlements in Nigeria due to its thriving fish trading.”
Senator Ibrahim, however, is disturbed that “the surges have become an annual occurrence that successive governments have failed to address.
He told the Senate that previous attempts to stem the tide through a N6.4b contract awarded by the NDDC, failed as the project didn’t see the light of day.
Ibrahim urged the Senate to mandate an investigation into the failed contract for the construction of a shoreline protective wall designed with Geo-tube technology.
He briefed the Senate on the intervention attempts made by NDDC to save the coastline community, saying “I am aware that a concerned interventionalist agency, the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) as early as 2004, just four years after its creation, made a commendable attempt to stem the slide by awarding the contract for the construction of a shoreline protective wall designed with Geo-tube technology in Ayetoro to Gallet Nigeria Limited at an original contract sum of 6.4 billion naira, of which 25 percent was reportedly paid;
“Also, I am aware that the said contract was revoked in 2009 for alleged lack of capacity and re-awarded to Dredging Atlantic Limited at an undisclosed cost, however, eleven years after the new contractor took over, and sixteen years after the contract was first awarded, there is nothing on ground to show any intervention by the government, thereby creating the wrong impression of an unconcerned Federal Government.”
Pleading with the Senate to do something urgent about the plight of the people, Ibrahim said: “The Senate should mandate the committee on NDDC, Environmental and Ecology ( when constituted/to interface with relevant ministries to work out modalities for instant intervention in the disasters.
“Also mandate the committee on NDDC (when constituted) to conduct an investigation into the N6.5 billion – Shoreline protection contract awarded by the NDDC in 2006 with a view to finding an alternative solution where necessary, to stem the dangerous slide and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.”
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