IKANGBA-AGORO-YEMULE FISH FARMS FLOOD DISASTER: Only Sustained, and Determined Struggles Can Win Concessions from the State and Federal Governments
Fish Farmers must be Prepared to Organize Themselves Linking Their Struggles With the Demand for Adequate Investments in Agriculture by Governments
We call on the NLC, TUC, civil society organizations, Socialists, and farmers’ organizations to support the fish farmers’ struggle and prevail on both the state and federal governments to accede to their demands
On July 28, 2022, fish farmers in Ogun state, organized under the aegis of Ikangba-Agoro-Yemule Fish Farmers Association had their fish farms ravaged by flood, leading to loss of over N500 million worth of investments in catfishes. The flood disaster affected over six (6) fish farm clusters, which include: Yemule, Ifeoluwa, Progressive, Asejere, Kajola, and Joye, among others.
By Eko John Nicholas
While flooding has become a global phenomenon, due to heightened effects of climate change, resulting from global warming, the Ikangba-Agaro-Yemule fish farms flood disaster, is largely due to the irresponsibility of the state and federal governments and their implementations of anti-poor neo-liberal policies, which has meant that the needs of the mass majority of the citizens including poor farmers are sacrificed at the altar of the profits for a few rich. This has led to a situation where project execution including road and drainage construction is handed to contractors at inflated prices, who oftentimes do poor jobs, against the use of democratically-controlled public works through direct labor by the ministry of works thus reinforcing climate disasters. This trend must be reversed.
It is this contract system by the Dapo Abiodun-led APC government in Ogun state, including the past ones, that has meant that the ongoing Ijebu Ode/Molipa road construction, with two giant drainages emptying their water contents from Imowo/Ibadan road are channeled into one narrow, poorly constructed drainage on one side of the dilapidated Old Benin-Lagos road (Ikangba road), into the shallow, narrow and silted Yemule stream, which lack the capacity to accommodate the high volume of waters, and subsequently overflowing its banks with the attendant flooding of fish ponds, which are kilometres away, leading to a huge loss of investments.
Instructively, the Ikangba-Agaro-Olorunsogo communities and the fish farmers, saw this flood disaster coming. After several failed attempts to make the Ogun state and federal governments see reasons to fix the Old Benin-Lagos road to avert the pending disaster, the fish farmers protested in December 2021, demanding that the road be fixed with proper drainages and also that the Yemule stream should be dredged. Typical of every pro-rich capitalist government across the country, the federal and state governments turned blind eyes and deaf ears.
Unfortunately, since the flood disaster that affected over 200 (two hundred) fish farmers, nothing has been heard from the state or federal government, despite a promise by an official of the state government, during a protest by the farmers at the government secretariat in Oke-Mosan, that in seven days, the government would get across to the farmers. The protest took place in July 2022, till this moment, the state government has maintained pin-drop silence, notwithstanding several letters of appeals by the fish farmers to the government.
Ultimately, the fish farmers must now realize that there are no benevolent capitalist governments anywhere. That workers and poor masses, including NLC, TUC, CSO, farmers, market women, youth, students, etc can only hope to win any tangible concession that would improve the general working and living conditions through sustained, determined, and principled struggles organized by themselves alongside appeals to other layers of the oppressed, linking same with the demands for their socio-economic and political wellbeing which is only possible on a permanent basis through a Socialist reconstruction of Nigeria.
Therefore, the fish farmers should, without much ado, commence public campaign activities like symposiums, press conferences, radio, and television appearances, rallies, picketing, sit-ins, protests, leafleting etc. to compel the governments to meet their demands which include and not limited to the fixing of the Old Benin-Lagos road with proper drainages on both sides; dredging of the Yemule stream; payment of compensations to farmers that lost investments; soft loans to farmers with single digit interest rate and two years moratorium and a halt to the planned levies on ponds at Ifeoluwa fish farm cluster by the state government through Ogun State Water Corporation. NLC, TUC, CSO, Socialists, and other public-spirited individuals and groups should also prevail on both the state and federal governments to accede to the fish farmers’ demands.