NATURE SERIES: Exploring the Oil Producing Region of Ondo State, Nigeria

We stepped a little bit out of our comfort zone to have a feeling of what the sea life looks like. Our notepad got exhausted at the avalanche of discoveries and findings we got from the Ilaje Local Government Area in Ondo. Ilaje has an area of 1,318 km2 and a population of about 290,615 at the census of 2006. We cannot but wonder at the adaptive nature of these people to their aquatic environment. Young children within the age range of 7 to 10 paddle their own canoes to school, the water that serves as road is the same water for bathing, laundry, swimming and fishing. Despite the harsh environmental conditions, smiles were not scarce from their faces. Their occupational activities include fishing, canoe making, lumbering, net making, mat making, farming and trading.  Ilaje is enriched with natural economic potential such as petroleum and bitumen and a unique centre for tourism but in the midst of all the abundance in the land, the people of the land are being paid less attention. In an interview we had with the Chairman of Fishermen Association of Ayetoro, he said oil exploration is killing the fishes in the sea which has hampered the profitability of the fishing business, he further explains that flood is destroying their houses and schools which has left many homeless and clueless . In his own words, he said “in the next 12 months, if the government fails to come to our rescue, where we are standing now will be taken over by waters from the sea”. At this point we sighed at the impending danger that awaits this full potentiated area if we fold our arms and we also rejoiced at the possibility of greatness we can achieve if we can come together as individuals, corporate bodies, and government parastatals to answer the call of this people. Greatness is achievable if we have great minds. See pictures below: