A community on the brink of extinction

Ayetoro community, which was founded in 1947 by Christian religious leaders and fishermen was recorded as one of the most prosperous rural communities in West Africa; based on public records, as at 1960 the proceeds made from fishing activities was huge before the discovery of crude oil in the 1970s, a discovery, which Eretan the community religious head described as the flood gate of doom for the community which has almost been reduced to nothing due to incessant flood disaster that occurs all year round.

Happy City College, Ayetoro gone with the flood

Heavy rainfall and industrial oil drilling activities by multinational companies are reported to be the major causes of floodings that have often threatened the population of over 14,000 people inhabiting the moderate size island community, which is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Lives of people, especially those of children, properties, and parts of the land are often lost during and in the aftermath of the flood disaster.

The one that occurred most recently, as a result of rain and sea incursion took place in the middle of the night, submerging over 30 houses including the community primary school, a secondary school and over 1000 meters of land leaving the community which was once as large as 4 standard football pitch and served as a centre for the celebration of Empire’s Day for the whole Ilaje local government during the colonial era, a smaller land space.

In 2007, just 11 years back, Kids & Teens Resource Centre came to the rescue of the population affected by the reported mighty flood disaster with relief materials such as foodstuff, mosquito nets, clothing materials etc. gotten with fund provided by ActionAid, an international NGO with a presence in Nigeria. In the same spirit of passion for humanity, the organization embarked on a journey by land and water to the community on 24th of July, 2018 to carry out a situation analysis to help develop an advocacy case for the community and distribute the relief materials the organisation could afford from the limited fund that was available. The relief materials included treated mosquito nets, daily hygiene materials (toothbrush, toothpaste and detergent), food and sanitary pads for the young women and children who were internally displaced by the flood disaster.

The Personal Assistant to the community head, Prince Tokunbo, as the focal person in the community expressed gratitude for the gifts of love, thanking the organisation for such a sacrifice. He stated that the materials were not sufficient for the displaced children indicating that the number of people affected was more than what was reported over the news. He also hinted at the ongoing internal faction which could cause more havoc from conflicts if the materials were not gotten by everyone including those who were not affected. As a voice for the community members, he expressed his displeasure towards the empty promises that have always been made by the government at all levels emphasizing the need for a strong political will so that the said available ecological fund could be used as appropriate.

It was deduced from the situation analysis that the flood has carried waste that was not properly disposed to the inhabited parts of the community blocking drainages and creating breeding spaces for mosquitoes. The disaster is an easy cause for epidemic outbreaks such as cholera, diarrhoea, and diseases such as malaria. The displacement situation was assessed to easily spread other contagious infections and diseases such as tuberculosis due to overcrowded living space and poor ventilation. Als,o oil spillage has affected the economic situation of the people causing the death of the fishes which they catch to sell as a means of primary livelihood. The oil spillage is also largely responsible for the high cost of potable water being sold in the community due to its scarcity.

Kids & Teens Resource Centre will be meeting with the government stakeholders  at all three levels, to help allay the fears of the inhabitants by preventing the total extinction of a long time historical settlement of the beautiful people of Ayetoro community.

Evidence based advocacy is urgently needed to put this community in its rightful place.