Some communities in Ondo State have protested over the proposed creation of 33 Local Councils Development Areas (LCDAs) out of the existing 18 local government areas in the state.
To this end, the Ijaws in Ese-Odo local government area of the state have issued a 21-day ultimatum to the state government to revert the ceding of their land to Irele and Ilaje local government areas in the newly proposed LCDAs.
While a community under the Akure South local government area, ‘Isikan’, has also protested the need to create Isikan LCDA in order to bring recognition to the people of the community.
At the public hearing on the proposed creation of these LCDAs held on Thursday at the International Culture and Event Centre in Akure, some individuals suspected to be supporters of Deji of Akure, Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi disrupted the presentation of the Iralepo of Isikan, Olugbenga Ojo on the need to create Isikan LCDA before the Speaker of the Ondo state House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji wade in to ensure orderliness.
BusinessDay reports that after the rowdy session, the monarch was allowed to make his presentation praying that the people of Isikan prayed that the initial nomenclature of Akure West be changed to Isikan LCDA, which comprises wards 1 to 3 in the old Akure South LGA.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting Ijaws, the Kalasuwei of Apoi land, Sunday Adejimola Amiseghan, and the Agadagba of Arogbo-Ijaw, Pere Zaccheaus Doubra Egbunu, said the whole of Okparama I and II and Ogidigba were ceded to Ilaje while part of Apoi 4 and 5 were ceded to Irele Local Government.
Besides, the protesting Ijaws said they want more LCDAs to be created out of Ese-Odo Local Government instead of ceding their land to Ilaje.
The monarchs, however, vowed that they would defend any action leading to the ceding of their ancestral lands.
The Apoi monarch said; “We are the only non-Yoruba speaking people in Ondo State. We are ready to defend our cultural and traditional identity. We are making our observations regarding the creation of LCDAs. The Ijaws have been marginalised a long time ago in Ondo State.
“We are special people in Ondo State because we have bitumen and abundant oil. We should be given special conditions. We demand more LCDAs in Ese-Odo. We will never concede one inch of our land to either Ilaje or Ikale. The Ondo State Government must withdraw that map.”
The Arogbo-Ijaw monarch also said they would fight against the ceding of their land.
Read also: Ondo clears the air on creation of 33 LCDAs
“We are a peace-loving people. We are calling on the Ondo State government to stop the nonsense. Ijaw National Congress will fight the course to make sure that one inch of our land will not be ceded,” he said.
But while reacting to all the grievances, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Oladiji said the state government would not hesitate to cancel the creation of any LCDA of any community or local government areas where there is crisis or court injunctions.
Oladiji said; “As much as we know as a matter of fact that it is not unexpected of community leaders to express their grievances and concerns about the geographical composition, nomenclature and location of headquarters of the LCDAS, so much more, we do need to know that our agitation and the “push” for the realization of our interests or requests must be done with caution (Devoid of violence).
“In whatever we do today, we should be mindful of the fact that we do them in the eyes of the global community.
“Thus, let me state without mincing words, that the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led administration in Ondo State will not hesitate to cancel or suspend the creation of Local Council Development Areas in any community or Local Government areas where there is crisis or court injunctions.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and to say anything less than the foregoing, is to distort reality.”