By Ebi Perekeme
At least two hundred Ijaw communities in Ikpoba-Okha, Ovia North East and Ovia South West Local Government Areas of Edo State, have said that their means of livelihood is been threatened over their neglect by successive governments of the state.
The Secretary of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western zone, Comrade Omaghomi Olu-Derimon disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Benin on Monday.
He lamented that the Ijaw have been left to fend for themselves, adding that the communities lack any semblance of infrastructural development.
The secretary said despite the marginalisation that the Ijaw communities have contributed to the political and economic development of the state, they lack good roads, portable water and healthcare facilities, stressing that their children are made to school in dilapidated buildings,
Olu-Derimon, therefore, appealed to Governor Godwin Obaseki to as a matter of urgency, see to the correction of the anormally in order for the people to have sense of belonging.
“This age long seeming abandonment 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 area 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 hyacenth control and good roads.
“With over 200 major and satellite communities, we have contributed to the socio economical development of the state and yet, there is nothing to show for it.
“Just recently, the government of Edo listed some roads for construction and rehabilitation, guess what, none of our communities was captured.
“Our means of livelihood is threatened because of water hyacenth and nothing is being done about it, meanwhile a lot of development is taking place in the city”, he observed.
Olu-Derimon also pointed out that apart from lack of infrastructural development, the Ijaws are rarely considered for any political appointment or elective positions in the state, adding that their demands were legitimate and not meant to embarrass the Governor.