Residents of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo state have threatened to take legal action against the state government over what they called “Criminal Neglect” of their community with regard to provision of basic amenities.
The “Egbe Omo Ilaja’ the apex socio-cultural organisation representing Ilaja, the only oil producing community in the state which issued the threat also vowed to engage Chevron, an American oil major operating in the community.
Addressing the media in Lagos over the issue, the national secretary of the organisation, comrade, Robinson Ogunfeyijimi, said the operating company, chevron had virtually abdicated its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) even after its oil exploitation activities had degraded its environment.
“We are predominantly fishermen but our source of water supply has been polluted by Chevron.
We rely on water vendors from Okitipupa which is several kilometres from Ilaje” he said.
Speaking further, Ogunfeyijimi said, ‘It is instructive to note that Ilaje Local Government Area is the only oil producing Local Government in Ondo State.
Therefore Ondo state becomes member of oil producing state through Ilaje Local Government’.
He also recalled that in a move to address the devastating effect of oil exploration on oil bearing communities, the federal government set aside 13 percent oil derivation fund to develop the affected communities.
He further recalled that the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was also meant to upgrade infrastructure in such communities.
Furthermore, the secretary said that the state government on its own established the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) for the purpose of supporting existing efforts of the federal government.
Ogunfeyijimi, however lamented that rather than serve the purpose for which they were established, the intervention funds were manipulated by government officials and thus became outfits to for self serving officials.
According to hi, The NDDC and OSOPADEC in Ondo state have become an avenue for politicians particularly the governor of the state and members of the commission to amass illegal wealth.
The situation has become worse since the inception of this administration under Governor Olusegun Mimiko in particular and the federal government in general.
He said the community is not connected to the national grid and therfore have to access to electricity.
He also alleged that the community has no good roads, no hospital. And schools.
According to him, the Mega School project started by the government is yet to be completed.
There is only one General Hospital in Igbokoda with oy one Doctor.
When our people are sick they go to Igbokoda or Okitipupa or Ore, and from Igbokada to Okitipupa is 25 km, and Okitpupa to Ore is 40 km while Ore to Ondo is 45km, so our people die in search of medicare.