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As The Sea Surges In Southwest Nigeria, More Residents Are Getting Displaced

Many residents of Ayetoro, Southwest Nigeria, have had their properties destroyed and are getting displaced as a result of a recent sea surge.

Alagbe Sobowale, a fisherman, was sleeping in his small room apartment in Ayetoro, Southwest Nigeria, around 2:30 p.m., when his house was submerged by flood from the ocean on Monday, April 17. Concerned about his safety, he fled first and could not save any of his properties in the house

The incursion which happened at Ayetoro, a riverine community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, left Sobowale and many others displaced.  

Sobowale told HumAngle that hundreds of homes and properties including schools and hospitals were also destroyed. 

Counting his losses, he said the incident happened when no one could save any of their properties.

“It was a terrible scenario for us. This isn’t the first time we are experiencing this but the government abandoned us to be at the mercy of ecological disasters,” he said. 

“We live in an oil-producing community, yet we suffer. The latest incursion has just chased me from my third house and our children  continue to have their academic calendar disrupted because of this.”

Ayetoro is one of the communities in Ilaje, the only oil producing area in Ondo. Residents of the community live on water. The foundation of their houses are single straight woods embedded in the river, and flat planks are used as the ground floors of the buildings that are merely a few feet above the lagoon. 

HumAngle has reported how the sea surge is a natural disaster that occurs as a result of the rise in water levels and intense storms. When it occurs, it leads to widespread flooding that destroys homes and properties.

Aralu Emmanuel, a youth leader in the community blamed the incessant incursion on the failure of the state government and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to complete a ₦6.4 billion shore protection project aimed at rescuing Ayetoro from ocean surge. 

Since Monday when the latest flooding occurred, the state government is yet to react to the incident. Richard Olabode, spokesperson of the governor, did not respond to enquiries from HumAngle about the situation in Ayetoro.

Meanwhile, Nigerians on social media have joined Ayetoro residents to demand actions from necessary authorities before the community is swept into the bin of history. 

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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