OSOPADEC Chairman, Elder Sam Erejuwa has again appealed for the urgent intervention of the Federal Government and its Agencies to ameliorate the devastating effects of the ecological hardship confronting the people along the coastal lines of Ondo State.
Erejuwa made the appeal during a courtesy visit to the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Malam Shehu Ibrahim in Abuja on Wednesday 5th April.
According to Erejuwa, since the creation of the Commission, an interventionist agency established to cater for the interests of the oil producing areas of Ondo State, several measures have been adopted to mitigate the effects of pollution, sea surge and other environmental challenges. He however regretted that the current ecological problems are now beyond what the Commission and the Ondo State government can handle.
Presenting the Commission’s request which includes drawing and design of the proposed projects and their bills of engineering measurements, Erejuwa lamented that several communities in Ilaje including: Ayetoro, Ebijimi, Idiogba, Awoye and Abereke among others are at the verge of total extinction if urgent proactive interventions are not taken.
The Chairman said: “The living condition is pitiable and needs urgent land reclamation, retaining walls and dredging of the communities. It is certainly beyond us, a whole generation will cease to exist if the situation is not addressed urgently”. He added that many schools, houses and churches in the communities were already submerged and “in the sea” as a result of the coastal degradation.
According to Erejuwa; “over 100 communities are affected and are impassable now especially Aiyetoro which is the mainstay of the area. This is a ‘Save our Soul’ call to keep our people safe”.
Amongst the pleas made by Erejuwa to the office were the deployment of relevant personnel and equipment to the affected communities with a view to taking measurements, according to the level of degradation and the remediation efforts required by the environment.
OSOPADEC Director, Administration and Supplies, Barrister Bayo Ololajulo who was part of the visit expressed optimism that the visit will yield a positive result with significant impacts in the mandate areas.
Ololajulo revealed that the officials of the Ecological Project Office, including its Permanent Secretary, Malam Shehu Ibrahim will soon visit the coastal region of the state for physical ecological impact assessment.
This he said will form the basis for external interventions and partnership between OSOPADEC, the Federal Government and donor agencies.
While reacting, the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim, mni called for collaboration between the Federal Government and other levels of government in the utilization of ecological fund allocations to address the ecological challenges ravaging different parts of the country.
He promised that the office will mobilize field officers and Senior Management Staff including himself to the State to ascertain the level degredation and damage in the area.
Present at the meeting were: Director(Drought, Desertification and Coastal Zone Management, Alhaji Bello Haruna; Director, Pollution Control Department in the Office, Mr. Clinton Igwe.
Others were; Special Assistant to the Chairman, Hon. Akola Daramola; Deputy Director, Environment and Natural Resources, Engr. Goke Aworetan