A protest was on Monday staged by some residents of Ayetoro Community in the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State against the leadership of the town over the alleged refusal of the latter to remit the money paid to the community as compensation for the oil spillage that occurred in the community.
Mobil Nigeria Limited was said to have paid the community a sum of N150m as compensation for oil spillage.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the Chairman, Association of Fishermen in the community, Pa Lawrence Lemamu, claimed that the monarch voluntarily left the palace when the residents of the town, who are mainly fishermen, were demanding the money paid as compensation by the oil company.
Lemamu explained that the sum of N150m was paid by the company as out- of-court settlement for the action instituted against the oil company over the oil spillage that happened in the community in 1998.
He said that the oil-spillage destroyed the sources of livelihood of farmers and fishermen while other domestic animals reared for commercial purpose were killed as a result of contamination of water caused by the oil spillage.
According to him, the community representatives nominated the monarch of the town, Oba Micah Ajijo, to oversee the disbursement of the compensation to the victims of the spillage but the traditional ruler had allegedly not delivered the money to the people.
He said, “The community unanimously agreed upon an account to be submitted for the payment of this money but Micah Ajijo presented his account for payment of the compensation, while the fishermen waited endlessly.
“Since 2021 that the compensation was paid, attempts and frantic efforts have been made to pay over 2,000 people affected by the spillage who are predominantly fishermen, but they proved abortive.
“The beneficiaries, having waited for two good years for their money without positive results, decided to embark on a peaceful protest to ensure the payment of the compensation.”
He called on relevant authorities and the state government to wade into the matter so that the crisis in the community would not degenerated to a full-blown crisis.
Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of the coastal community alleged that some suspected hoodlums attempted to kidnap and kill him in a bid to forcefully remove him from the throne but he escaped from the palace.