Residents of Ilaje and Ese -Odo local government areas of Ondo State under the auspices of Concerned Group of Oil Producing Communities in Ondo State have cried out over alleged neglect of their communities.
The group also lamented the effect of oil exploration on the oil bearing communities, noting that funds set aside for the development of affected communities were being pocketed by a few government officials to amass illegal wealth.
Speaking during a press conference in Igbokoda, headquarters of Ilaje Local Government Area of the state, the group said “there is virtually nothing to show in the oil producing communities despite the ranking of the state in the fifth position among oil producing states in Nigeria.”
The group Chairman, Chief Loto Amehinola Finance, specifically said the communities had been sidelined in the sharing of resources and social amenities, adding that there were no good roads, hospitals, water and electricity to show for the resources tapped from the communities.
Finance, who was flanked by the Secretary, Okiriji Ayubapiriye Nathaniel and the Legal Adviser, Kpiliboh Eddy, said the effect of oil exploration and exploitation was devastating. It is still a surprise that we are still left in the total darkness. In these communities underdevelopment is the order of the day.
“Regrettably, since the inception of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) board, no Ondo State indigene has been appointed for the position of Managing Director, Chairman or Executive Director.
“This is the height of discrimination and marginalisation.
“We lack government presence. In fact, there’s no commitment on the part of government to develop our people,” he said.
The group pleaded with government representatives to visit the core oil producing communities to know the veracity of the claim, adding that contacts given out should be made open to members of the communities for monitoring and supervision.
They also kicked against representation of communities by non-indigenes, demanding that government delegates should be sent to the areas for situation assessment and not traditional rulers.
They, however, called on the state and federal government to address the plight of the people in the area which comprising Ilaje, Ijaw and Apoi before they resulted into armed insurgency.