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Ondo wants government to save coastal communities from surge, erosion

Barely a week after the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) appealed to the Federal Government to intervene to curb the fast eroding Lagos shoreline, the authorities are confronted with yet another daunting task.

Ayetoro Ondo State
The happiness in the coastal city of Ayetoro in Ondo State may have been disrupted by the recent ocean surge

The SOS call, this time around, is coming from the Ondo State Government, which wants the central government to urgently stop the incessant surge of the Atlantic Ocean, which is affecting coastal communities of the state.

Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu made the appeal on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Ayetoro, Ilaje Local Government Area, after inspecting the damage caused by the sea surge in the coastal community.

Akeredolu was represented by his deputy, Mr Agboola Ajayi.

The deputy governor was accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Ifedayo Abegunde; Commissioner for Environment, Mr Funso Esan; and the Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, Mr Gbenga Edema.

Akeredolu sympathised with the residents who were directly affected by the ocean surge.

The governor bewailed the loss of houses and other property during the disaster, while soliciting the Federal Government’s assistance in efforts to protect the oil-producing community from the sea surge.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sea surge, which occurred on July 14, destroyed more than 25 buildings, including the only secondary school in the community.

NAN also reports that over 200 persons were rendered homeless due to the consequences of the natural disaster.

Speaking for himself, the deputy governor underscored the need to use modern technology to check the menace of ocean surge in the coastal areas of the country.

“I remember when I was a member of the House of Representatives, I personally led members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to this community. I also travelled to the Netherlands to look at some modern technology, which we felt would be able to solve the problem.

“As I am here now, you should know that Ondo State is here. The Secretary to the State Government is here, the Chairman of Ilaje Local Government Council is also here; all of us are here.

“As a matter of fact, the governor would have been here personally, but he is away with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Netherlands.

“He directed us to be here today to express our feeling and assess the level of damage, while looking for the best way to prevent future occurrence.

“Certainly, you can see this has gone beyond the capacity of the Ondo State Government.

“We will make noise and let the whole world know that Ayetoro is in danger, Ondo State is in danger and the Federal Government should rescue this oil-producing community.

“Probably, what they did in Lagos would solve this problem.

“Look at Eko Atlantic City, the government was able to stop sea incursion and people are able to drive around freely; not only this, they are even building houses on top of the sea.

“In this community, a lot of houses have been washed away and the children cannot go to school.

“So, we are worried, but we are assuring our people that we will not relent in our efforts to stop this disaster,’’ he added.

In their complaint, NCF officials stated that Eko Atlantic City has not entirely addressed coastal erosion along the Bar Beach and adjoining shoreline but appears to have, instead, transferred the ocean’s aggression elsewhere.

By Segun Giwa

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