Ondo Fishermen Want Special Focus on Marine Sector
By Adedapo Adesanya
Some fishermen under the aegis of the Fishermen Association of Nigeria (FAN), Ondo State Chapter, have appealed to the state’s government to declare a state of emergency on the decay of infrastructure in the marine business.
This is coming after President Bola Tinubu-led administration declared a state of emergency on food amid a rise in prices and shortages.
The President said that some of the initiatives would include using money saved from the recent removal of a fuel subsidy to provide fertilisers and grains to farmers.
The fishermen, recognising this development, through their national president, Mr Orioye Gbayisemore, pleaded to the government to, as a matter of urgency, make the waterways safe for different marine businesses.
In an open letter to the Acting Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in Akure on Sunday, they decried the alleged government’s failure to officially react to the death of five traders in a boat mishap in Ilaje or sympathise with the bereaved families.
“Your Excellency, sir, you will be aware that about three weeks ago, five Igbo men drowned as a result of a boat mishap in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, with a press statement issued in all the national dailies by our association.
“But to our greatest surprise, the Government of Ondo State has kept deaf ears to this ugly incident without making any statement to sympathise with the families of the deceased,” a part of the letter said.
The association further stated that the incident led to low patronage by traders from the South-East because of the lack of safety measures for water commuters.
It also urged the state government to give special consideration to the artisanal fishermen in the proposed government palliatives to be supported with input and financial support.
“The removal of subsidy has worsened the situation of the people living in the riverine communities of the state.
“It takes an average of 200 litres of petrol at N700, totalling N140,000, to set out for fishing, which is the main mainstay of the riverine communities.
“With the declaration of state of emergency in the food and agriculture sector by the Federal Government President, the fishery sector should be considered, being a critical sector that provides the cheapest protein source to the masses.
“And 65 per cent of total consumption rate come from the artisanal fishermen,” the group stated.