The Ilaje Advancement Forum (IAF), a sociocultural group of the Ilaje people, has faulted plans by the Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC) to power street lights in Igbokoda community with a diesel-powered generator.
In a statement jointly signed by Daudu Oluwajuwon George, Ogunbiyi Oluwajuwon, and Ayara Ajodun Lizzy, the group said the exercise will not compensate for the electricity blackout the community has experiencing for the past decade.
The statement reads: "The recent attempt to hoodwink the good people of Ilaje local government by lighting up the street leading to Igbokódà with a diesel-powered generator is a waste of time and resources. It is a disgrace that we have interventionists who are supposed to be catering to our needs but they prefer to embark on ghost projects and stomach infastructural projects. OSOPADEC and NDDC have no excuses for this inhumane, deplorable conditions of our communities and environment.
"It can only be described as satanic if OSOPADEC's solution to the cry of the Ilaje people for electricity is buying of diesel to power a mere 88 poles of dilapidated street lights for 55 communities spread across a land mass of about 4,000km. We view this ill-conceived gesture as an insult on the sensibilities of over 300,000 peace-loving inhabitants of the local government."
The group noted that Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of the state, had lamented the slow pace of development in the region at the second National Council on Niger Delta organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta in Igbokoda, Ilaje local government.
The statement quoted the Governor as saying: “This region presents a cruel paradox; the entire country depends on it almost entirely for sustenance. It, however, lacks evidence of development, depicting its status as the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg.”
The group therefore wondered why actions were not being taken to improve the situation of the community.
It also reiterated its call on the Ondo State government to end the 10 years of uninterrupted blackout, a condition they gave for permitting the conduct of the 2019 election in the local governmentt.
The group also called on all stakeholders to intervene and help alleviate the sufferings of the Ilaje people.
"We appeal to all the stakeholders involved in this injustice to immediately return ilaje to the national grid and not test our will and capacity. This is also an avenue to remind the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, that her role is not only to gather our parents in the sun in the name of flaging off a fake, non existing and embezzled Ugbonla/Oghoye bridge," it said.
"This is also the time to perform their interventionist responsibility and help in back to grid reconnection of the only local government that has been producing oil in the South west until Lagos joined her recently. We appeal to all stakeholders involved in this injustice and marginalization to immediately return Ilaje and the four other local governments involved to the national grid and they shouldn't stretch our patience further."