25th October, 2021
By Igbaugba Ehigimetor
Ijaw communities in three Local Government Areas of Edo, have alleged that Governor Godwin Obaseki and successive State governments have flagrantly refused to provide them with basic amenities.
Secretary Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Western zone, Mr Omaghomi Olu-Derimon, made the allegation of abandonment in a statement made available to newsmen on Monday in Benin
Olu-Derimon lamented that the communities lacked any semblance of infrastructural development.
He noted that no Ijaw community was captured in the roads listed for construction and rehabilitation recently by the Edo State Government.
Olu-Derimon also noted that aside infrastructural development, the Ijaws are seldom considered for any political appointment or elective positions.
“Our means of livelihood is threatened because of water hyacinth and nothing is being done about it; meanwhile, a lot of development is taking place in the city,” he stated.
He said the affected Ijaw communities, spread across Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia North East and Ovia South West Local Government Areas of the state, had taken their destinies in their own hands.
According to him, not only are the communities without good roads, portable water and healthcare facilities, but relics of dilapidated schools under which children of these communities are made to acquire knowledge dot the communities.
He decried the abject poverty of the people and the reckless abandonment and marginalisation of the Ijaw communities in spite of its political and economic contributions to the growth and development of the state.
He appealed to Gov. Godwin Obaseki to, as a matter of urgency, see to the correction of the abnormally in order for the people to have a sense of belonging.
“This age long seeming abandonement and marginalisation have forced us to ask ourselves if we are really still part of the State.
“We have been facing this neglect ever since, it is not just Obaseki’s administration.
“The riverine areas of Edo is mostly occupied by the Ijaws and it is the most underdeveloped part of the state.
“Owing to the neglect of the area by past administrations, most of these communities lack government presence in terms of primary health care, portable water, schools, water hyacinth control and good roads.
“With over 200 major and satellite communities, we have contributed to the socio-economic development of the state and yet, there is nothing to show for it.
Olu-Derimo, while defending the demands of the Ijaw people in Edo, concluded that their demands are legitimate and not meant to embarrass the governor.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Infrastructure in the state, Mr Furgerson Enabulele, neither answered his calls nor replied messages sent to his mobile phone.