The Ijaw-Apoi communities in Ese Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State have kicked against their exclusion from the ongoing mapping of areas with “bitumen deposits” in the state.
The communities, in an open letter, described their exclusion from the bitumen map “as unfair and unjust” noting that it had created tension among the indigenes.
Dailytimes gathered that the letter was written on behalf of the communities by Barrister Success Taiwo Torhukerhijo, a member of the State House of Assembly, and addressed to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
They explained that Ese-Odo local government is blessed with tremendous and enviable human and natural resources, and they wondered why they were excluded from the mapping.
The communities said that historical documentation, scientific and academic research materials with empirical evidence showed that Ese-Odo has rich and substantial bitumen deposits.
While justifying their claims, the communities said an academic researcher, Mr Adekunle Olatumile (PhD), in his recent research work published in volume 3 of Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences (2012) stated with data analysis that Ese-Odo is the third largest local government with bitumen deposit in Ondo State.
The letter partly read, “May it please your Excellency to know that following the discovery of bitumen deposits by Shell “D” Carey in 1900, Igbobini has Well 307C while the deposit in Igbekebo( with Well 308B) is said to be the second-largest bitumen well in the whole world, amongst other Ijaw-Apoi communities with large deposits of bitumen in Ondo State.
“Therefore, the apparent exclusion of Ese-Odo local government from the map of areas with bitumen deposits in Ondo State is worrisome.
“It is imperative that this anomaly is immediately corrected in order not to create tension and unease in Ese-Odo.
The people see the exclusion as a deliberate ploy to reverse their gains on the discovery of bitumen in their communities from pre-colonial times and thus deny them of the accrued benefits of exploration and exploitation of same.”