Ayetoro is being washed away. So sad. Our beloved “Happy City;” the legendary London of Ilaje land is being turned to a mere shore. by flood. 

Growing up in the coastal areas of Ondo State, Ayetoro was a story every child longed to hear, an experience every one wanted for holidays. “Happy City” was a class of its own when it comes to architectural creativity and municipal visions. Ilaje London was an independent enclave of communal development that is fulfils major passwords of building society economically, socially, spiritually, and physically. She provides cover for citizenry in rights and duties as well as in individual and collective obligations. Ayetoro is truly the beloved Ayetoro; all is done for each to live like all!

But as I write, no one is enjoying any sleep in Ayetoro. This has been the case since the past two decades. The oil explorations in that axis is already exploiting the environment. Experts have been very clear about the conditions of flooding that has destroyed the architectural and economic bouyancy of the beautiful homeland of Ilajes. 

Sadly, no oil exploration is allowed in Ayetoro, but most surrounding towns and villages are being explored without acceeding to global environmental practices. This is the same inhuman attitudes of the multinational companies in the whole of the Niger Delta. Black soots are threatening the existence of most oil host towns from Bayelsa to Ondo while the Petroleum Industrial Act (PIA) cares very little (even in theory) about the continuous reckless damaging of the riverine areas and lands. The economy of the host communities in Niger Delta region are lamed by the crude activities of the oil companies.

Chevron Nigeria Ltd has been denying responsibility in the case of Ayetoro. But there is no doubt that Chevron is culpable! So why is the company not forced to do the needful?

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded the intervention programme in Ayetoro for the past 16 years without any real implementation. One can be sure that the monies must have gone under the drain just like that of other projects. We are calling on the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) to rise to the occasion now! If Ayetoro is allowed to be flushed off by the flood, many of the over 400 towns and villages in Ilaje land will follow same fate. This is why it is very important that all Ilaje hands must be on deck and we #SaveAyetoroNow!

Finally, I will like to charge global environmentalists and lovers of the mother earth to rise and join us in the campaign to save our beloved “Ilaje London” from the death knell of flood. By this piece, our Ulenuse Movement will be joining all other lovers of true and lasting societal change to lead massive global campaigns to #SaveAyetoroNow. We know that by doing this, we are keeping legendary dates with history and posterity!

*Kolade Benson Omoyeni, a Global Development enthusiast, writes from Sabomi, Ilaje/Ese-Odo Local Government, Ondo State.

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