Ondo community protests alleged diversion of N150 million compensation for oil-spill
• Denies attack on monarch’s palace
• Says ruler vacated abode to avoid people’s wrath
Indigenes of Ayetoro community in Ilaje Local Council of Ondo State, yesterday, accused the traditional ruler and spiritual head of the town, Oba Micah Ajijo, of allegedly holding on to the N150 million oil-spill compensation paid to the community by one of the oil firms operating in the area.
The people of the community, who staged a peaceful protest over the development, denied attacking or chasing away Oba Ajijo from the community but only demanded that the monarch must account for the compensation paid into his account since 2021.
According to the people, who displayed placards of various inscriptions, the monarch allegedly vacated the palace to avoid the wrath of the people. The indigenes said that the claims by the monarch were regrettable, adding that it was an indication that the traditional ruler was up to some mischief over the payment of oil-spill compensation.
Chairman of the Association of Fishermen, Lawrence Lemamu, who spoke on behalf of the people, said that the monarch voluntarily vacated the palace when the residents of the town, who are mainly fishermen, demanded for the money paid as compensation by Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited.
Lemamu said that the N150 million was paid by the oil giant as an out-of-court settlement for the action instituted against the oil firm over the oil spillage that happened in the community in 1998.
He, however, said that the community representatives, who include Snr. Apostle Dele Kudehinbu, Prophet Jimmy Obakpolor and Snr. Apostle Jackson Hommane, nominated Oba Ajijo to supervise the disbursement of the compensation.
He alleged that the traditional ruler, after taking delivery of the funds from Mobil, resorted to using police to intimidate and harass members of the community.
Meanwhile, the governor has set up a reconciliation committee to look into the frequent crises occasioned by the leadership tussle and the oil-spill compensation paid to Ayetoro community.
A statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said the constitution of the committee aimed at finding lasting peace to the ravaging crisis in Ayetoro community arising from the disagreement on issues that bother on leadership and oil spill compensation.