By Friday Omosola
The first river delta we experienced was in the Jerinwo community.
Over the decades, peoples who inhabit in the coastal area of ilaje have been squabbling with delays in water transportation caused by the spread stupor emanated from the sea through the delta river.
In the 1880s, some residents who are transporters and businessmen recounted their loss when the river delta in the Jerinwo community first began.
A man in his old age, Agbede Johnson who was a mat seller said he lost the boat he always uses for transporting mats to the sea wave.
” I was a mat seller who lost everything during that period before engaging in another business “.
Similarly, a tree seller who transports trees from one community to another lamented that she had to stop the business as the wave is becoming unbearable for her to paddle.
When she was asked on how they manage to block the river delta, it was learnt that, over a night, the river delta got blocked and a years later, another one begun in the Awoye community.
Speaking with Awoyemi Festus, one of the residents explained that the Awoye community was once a village that turned to London after the new discovery of the river delta.
The river delta was said to have served as economy-boosting and as a means of income generation for the residents who are transporters, wholesalers, and retailers who sell one thing or the others.
In the Awoye community, selling of crayfish, clothes, fishes, petroleum became the major business years back before the emergence of Oko pepe and Oko durogbe which conveyed fishes and other goods from Awoye and neighboring communities to Igbokoda.
As at the time of filing this report, the river delta in Awoye community has destroyed a lot of buildings and had also sent a lot of people from their abode as the wave coming from the sea is higher than their houses.
The investigation conducted by this reporter revealed that the residents of Mese, Gbagira, and some parts of Awoye communities had relocated their houses to Molutehin and Ikuyimino communities.
Manual Creation And Its Effect On The Community
The inhabitants of Ilaje coastal areas are known to be fishermen, farmers, transporters, and mats producers since its inception.
Over a year, the economic situation of the residents had been grievously affected as a result of manual river delta created by some selfish citizens in the area.
One of the residents who is also a fisherman who claims anonymity divulged that since the construction of the river delta has started in the area, eating three square meals a day had become hard for him and his family.
He added that the lagoons that house fish now houses stupor which emanated from the river delta.
Last year during the rainy season, the transport fare from Ugbonla to the affected areas, Oroto community was 300 naira, Ayetoro community, 200, Ilowo community 500, Ilepete and Obenla community was 600 before the dry season as the transportation workers charged double of the normal transport fare.
On their part, the association of transportation workers( Egbe oni durogbe) complained bitterly about how hard it is for them to drop passengers in the affected areas, and most especially their engines got damaged whenever they branch to drop passengers.
When this reporter visited the mat production areas in Bijimi, Ilowo and Oroto communities, this reporter discovered most of the mat cutters and producers wandering around with a complaint of no mats as the stupor from the river delta had killed the raw mats in the major places.
The transportation workers of Oko Pepe on their part said from Ugbonla to Obe-nla communities they now used more than 60 liters of petroleum than the initial 30 litres.
They added that a journey of 45 minutes now turned 2 hours and more.
On contrary, the women who engage in fish farming who catch tilapia and other Atlantic fish with a small circle of tree bounds together in a spot on water lamented the harms done to them by the river delta.
Some years back, some residents of ilaje coastal areas woke up to see the creation of a river delta to serve as a means of income generation for them and their families.
According to investigations, each boat (Oko Malokun) that passes through the river delta paid a sum of 1,000 or 2,000, and failure to adhere led to chaos.
The first man-made river delta was in the Oroto community that was blocked by the government after the cries of the fishermen and transporters in the areas reach their office.
After the blockage, another one was created in the Idiogba community and since its creation, several efforts have been taken by the king to block it, but all efforts proved abortive.
As at the time of filing this report, nothing has been done to block the river delta both in Idiogba and the neighboring communities.
However, the residents are calling on the Ondo State government and the federal government to come to their aid and find a lasting solution to their problem.