In a significant development on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, expressed his admiration for Senator Jimoh Ibrahim’s commendable efforts in introducing the Ayetoro bill. This bill aims to unlock the immense potential of the oil-producing Ayetoro community, an historically and culturally significant settlement along the coastal stretch of Ilaje local government.
Once a thriving river community, Ayetoro used to be one of Nigeria’s most prosperous areas in terms of oil production. Presently, the Ayetoro Community and its surroundings account for 5.4 percent of Ondo State’s daily crude oil production output of 60,000 barrels, contributing approximately 3.7 percent to Nigeria’s overall oil production. Under the Nigeria Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act, Ondo State ranks fifth among Nigeria’s oil-producing states.
Unfortunately, the region has been severely impacted by destructive sea incursions and ocean surges, resulting in the displacement of numerous residents and the loss of properties worth millions over the past few decades. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the Senate has resolved that the Committees on NDDC, Environment and Ecology, and other relevant ministries collaborate to devise immediate intervention strategies.
The Senate also expressed concern about the recurring nature of these surges, which have become an annual event, constantly reminding the people of Ayetoro that their community is slowly being claimed by the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger Delta Development Commission, an agency responsible for intervention in the region, made a notable effort in 2004 to construct a shoreline protective wall through a contract awarded to Gallet Nigeria Limited at a cost of N6.4 billion. However, the contract was later revoked in 2009 due to alleged non-compliance by Dredging Atlantic Limited, and there has been no record of progress since then. This lack of action from the government has created an impression of indifference.
The Senate is deeply worried that Ayetoro is at risk of complete submergence if immediate measures are not taken. The residents are gradually losing hope that their plight will receive the attention it deserves from the relevant authorities. The once vibrant community, steeped in history and known for its communal spirit, is now grappling with the devastating effects of continuous sea incursions.
In light of these concerns, the Senate has called for a thorough investigation into the matter and urges the government to intervene urgently. The people of Ayetoro deserve swift action and assistance to safeguard their community and restore their hope for a better future.