Association of Fishing and Fishing Related Persons in Ibeju Lekki area, Lagos has raised alarm that the dredging done by Dangote Group of Companies on the sea has caused lots of damages on their fishing gears and fishing activities.
Chairman of the association, Odubote Akorede while speaking with The Nation on Saturday lamented the loss of livelihood caused by the dredging activities, adding that it has significantly reduced their catch of fishes.
Odubote noted that homes and properties worth millions of Naira has been destroyed by water from the sea which is caused by dredging activities.
He also lamented that there is a high rate of school drop outs in the community due to lack of finance for parents to cater for their children’s school fees.
The Chairman, therefore, appealed to the Federal government and the Governor of Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to come to their aid by finding a lasting solution to their problems, adding that the community can no longer hold their patience.
“We have been encountering so many difficulties on the sea-based on the dredging by Dangote Group of Companies. This started in 2014 but this year is the worst of all. Before they came, we make use of 10 to 15 bundles of shower nets but today, hardly will you return with three or four bundles due to the activities of Dangote Company on the sea.
“Their ships destroy our fishing gears and we have been stopped from going to the areas where we fish. This is the only means of survival; this is the only profession we use to feed our families. I started fishing since 1977 and my parents used all they got from this profession to enroll me in school to the higher institution.
“Our children are out of school because parents can no longer afford the money to enrol their children. We have families, including the aged who we cater. But the dredging by Dangote has damaged all we depend on,” he said.
He continued: “The heavy waves have washed away all the coconuts planted by our fathers. The dredging does not only affect the area where they work but extends to 15 or 20 miles from the right and left. That is why the water was able to penetrate and destroy some of our homes and properties.
“We appeal to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Federal government to please help us interfere in this case of ours before it is too late. Naval officers chase our people away, as well as some of our fishermen beaten and their fishing gears been damaged. The government should help us because we are good citizens,” he added.
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Secretary of the association Shina Adeniyi added that: “Our people are majorly into fishing and farming. All the land along the lagoon has been allocated to the government that is why our only occupation today is fishing.
“But it is a pity that the fishing activities have been paralysed due to dredging by Dangote Group of Companies. Our people can no longer go to the sea and erosion has waded away from the little perennial crops we have like coconut.
“Many houses have been destroyed and despite all the letters we wrote, only the Department of Petroleum Resources, Lagos state replied us two weeks ago,” he said.
A fisherman in the community, Matthew Adewale also said: “Many of our people have borrowed money to finance their fishing businesses and as a result of the dredging activities taking place, our people no longer fish which results to debt for them. So many of them have nowhere to go or they don’t even have any other work to do except this fishing business. The government should please help us,”
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