Leaders of the coastal community of Ayetoro in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo state, have raised alarm over continual and wanton destruction of property and harassment of innocent people in the community.
The community leaders also called on the state government to wade into the lingering crisis rocking the community, and ordered urgent deployment of security operatives into the community to stop further destruction of properties and harassment of innocent people in the area.
Speaking on behalf of the leadership, the Ogeloyinbo in Council and the Community Board of Trustees, the Asiwaju of Ayetoro, Gani Ojagbohunmi also explained that the N150m oil-spillage compensation paid by Mobil oil to the community was never diverted into personal purse or misappropriated by community leaders.
Chief Ojagbohunmi, distanced the traditional ruler of the town from the disbursement of the compensation, saying the oil-spillage predated his emergence as the monarch of the community.
He said about four houses and properties had been destroyed by some aggrieved members of the community while properties worth millions of naira carted away during the protest by the some gangsters loyal to a self-styled prophet in the town, Oluwanbe Ojagbohunmi.
According to him, no fewer than 84 buildings had been torched and destroyed over the crisis in the coastal community between 2015 till date, following the Obaship tussule which had been settled in Court.
Ojagbohunmi who is the former Clerk of the House of Representatives, explained that the crisis remained in the community since 2015 , following the ambition of a self-styled prophet, Oluwanbe Ojagbohunmi, alleging that the prophet has been sponsoring hoodlums to unleash attack on the traditional ruler of the town, Oba Micah Ajijo.
He however, called on the state government “to urgently mobilise Mobile Police Force and other security agents to Ayetoro Community to maintain law and order.
“To commence thorough investigation on the criminal activities of Mr. Oluwanbe Ojagbohunmi and his gangsters, with a view to make them face the wrath of a due process of law
“To provide security personnel to guard the palace of the Ogeloyinbo of Ayetoro and establish fully equipped police station and Naval base in Ayetoro Community”
He said the call became necessary because of the threat issued by the self-styled prophet and his gangsters, ordering to members of the community to vacate the area and was supervised by the hoodlums.
Speaking on the oil-spillage compensation from the oil company, the Asiwaju of Ayetoro, admitted that the first tranche of the compensation was paid to the community account after the lawyer representing the community.had deducted his legal fee in line with the agreement with him.
He stated that the sum of N90m was released and said all relevant beneficiaries affected by the spillage and who organized themselves into groups and cooperatives, donors, the litigants were paid.
He said the compensation was disbursed to beneficiaries mainly through their bank accounts. A few people without bank
accounts were paid cash and they signed accordingly.
But Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi instructed people in his dissident group not to collect their entitlements, unless the whole money released by Mobil Oil Unlimited is brought to him for administration. By so doing, he was
trying to struggle with the leadership on the issue of leadership legitimacy.
Majority of the people entitled to the money in his group ignored his directive and went ahead to collect their money. We have records of people in is dissident group who already collected their entitlements.
It is pertinent to note that the allegation of wrong doing concerning the compensation money is nothing new. The matter was earlier reported to the Ondo State Command, Akure.
“After some investigations, the police Command expressed satisfaction that the leadership of the community properly handled the administration of the compensation. And we have a document from the police to that effect.
“Similarly, Mr Oluwambe Ojagbohunmi and some of his supporters took their complaint to a Magistrate court for redress. The court ruled in favour of the leadership of the community.
“Their lawyer knows very well that they can seek further redress in a higher court if they have a genuine case. Therefore, we cannot see any justification for resort to violence, threat to life and destruction of valuable properties of the leader of the community and other indigenes of community.
But while speaking on behalf of the people, the Chairman association of Fishermen, Pa Lawrence Lemamu, said the residents of the town who are mainly fishermen are demanding for the money paid as compensation by Mobil Producing Nigeria Limited.
Lemamu who explained that the sum of N150m thatwas paid by the oil giant as an out-of-court settlement for the action instituted against the oil company was converted to personal purse and pocket of the traditional ruler of the town, Ajijo.