Orioye Gbayisemore, national president of the Fishermen Association of Nigeria, the Ondo chapter, has appealed to the state government to declare a state of emergency on the decay of infrastructure in the marine business.
Mr Gbayisemore also appealed to the government to make the waterways safe for different marine businesses as a matter of urgency. The association made the appeal in an open letter to acting Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa on Sunday.
It 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,” stated the letter. “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.”
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,” added the association.
The letter also mentioned that with the declaration of state of emergency in the food and agriculture sector by the federal government, “the fishery sector should be considered, being a critical sector that provides the cheapest protein source to the masses.”
The association also noted that “65 per cent of the total consumption rate come from the artisanal fishermen.”