Residents of Ilaje, the oil-rich community in the coastal area of Ondo state on Wednesday said they were being marginalized by the state government particularly in the area of basic amenities.
President of ‘Egbe Omo Ilaje’ the Umbrella body of all sons and daughters of Ilaje community, Prince Raphael Irowainu made the remarks at the inauguration of new executives of the group in Igbokoda, headquarters of the Ilaje local government.
According to him, being an oil producing community, they were lagged behind in the area of education, health and social amenities among others.
Irowainu pointed out that the community had remained in darkness for over 20 years.
Besides, he said structures in most primary and secondary schools in the area were dilapidated.
He said: “Egbe Omo Ilaje is an umbrella body for all Ilajes in respective of political affiliation and kingdom because we are not a political group.
“We have been politically marginalized, we are also aware that we are economically marginalized, and in terms of infrastructures we are not favoured at all by the state government.
” For over 20 years, Ilaje communities have been in total darkness. Ilaje with its local government status does not have General Hospital. What they are referring to as General Hospital here is an annex of the General Hospital, Okitipupa because it is being controlled by its Chief Medical Director(CMD).
“As big as Ilaje local government, there is no judicial presence, no judicial division. We are seriously marginalized.If you go to the riverine areas, with over 250 communities, there are no health centres.
“We are going to engage the government constructively, we are not going to be violent as a matured group,we will pursue our concerns legitimately. We are not a militant group.
“Education sector is even worst, If you go to the riverine area, schools have no teachers, no facilities, We will ensure that these things are addressed.”
The President blamed political and traditional leaders for the level of insecurity in the area, adding that they groomed youth as militant groups.
Irowainu appealed to leaders in the area to desist from encouraging thuggery and militancy in the best interest of the community.
According to him,” There are lot of factors responsible for the insecurity level in this area. The political leaders are involved, the traditional institutions are deeply involved , the corporate individuals are also involved.
“They engaged these guys as body guards, they pay them and even engage them during elections to cause problems.
“We are going to dialogue with community leaders on the need to desist from these acts.If you are creating nuisance, you should know the implications”.
He said the group under his leadership would serve as a veritable platform to champion the course of Ilaje nation and protect the rights and interests of all sons and daughters of the community.