Tears flowed yesterday as the Atlantic Ocean sacked the historic Aiyetoro community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The surge affected more than half of the fishing community, flooding streets and houses and forcing residents to flee.
According to residents, who sent a distress message to The Nation, the ocean began to overflow its banks at 4:30 am and eventually sacked more than 50 houses by midday.
A resident, Samson Ajijo, said: “The surge began just before dawn. The waves were violent and houses by the banks were the first to go. Many houses in the main town have been submerged and properties destroyed.”
The fishing community has about 30,000 residents. Hundreds of them have been rendered homeless.
The ocean surge has been a recurrent issue in the community for about 15 years, prompting the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to award a N6.5billion shoreline protection contract to Atlantic Dredgers Limited (DAL) in 2006.
But the company abandoned site, leaving only a handful of workers without proper equipment to handle the shoreline protection.
“It is frustrating for us, workers of the Atlantic Dredgers tried to run away yesterday after the sea level rose but we prevented them. They have done nothing at all and now they want to abandon us.”
The spiritual head of the community, Bishop Eremitan Eretan, alleged that the contractor has not been on site.
“Up till now, we have not set our eyes on the contractor nine years after he started working in our community.”