CAD visits Bariga’s Fishing Communities

CAD visits Isale-Akoka Ilaje fishing community, Bariga
At Isale-Akoka Ilaje fishing communities, CAD team meets with community members- Mr. Zebulon (white shirt and trousers), Mr. Ogunkalu Ajinde, Mr. Abiodun Ogunmaikun, Ms. Queen Ogungbahi and others.

Fishing, swimming, water games, canoe rides, sight-seeing, leisure… These thoughts will surely come to any visitor to the fishing communities of Bariga Local Council Development Area. In fact, the area is a popular tourist location in the State and notable Nigerians such as Wole Soyinka often visit for connections we dare say to the muse.

Well, in November, 2017, CAD visited some of the scenic waterfront communities of Bariga. There are four fishing communities in Bariga namely, Isale-Akoka Ilaje fishing community (CDA), Ebute-Ilaje CDA, Ago-Egun CDA and Odunsi-Ilaje CDA. These communities are of various tribes including Ilaje, Egun, Ijaw, Benin, and Togo among others and boast an estimated 30,000 population.

At Isale-Akoka Ilaje fishing community CAD met with Mr. Segun Zebulon the Chairman of the Fishermen Cooperative Society, Bariga and the Vice-chair of Lagos State Fishermen Cooperative Society, Mr. Ogunkalu Ajinde (member of the Bariga cooperative), Mr. Abiodun Ogunmaikin (member of the local security group provided by the Oodua Peoples’ Congress), Queen Ogungbahi among others. At the Ago-Egun CDA, CAD met with Mr. Sangoloke Moses the CDA chairman as well as community traditional elders.

The sturdy fishermen proudly intimated CAD that Bariga placed second (2nd) at the Lagos State 2017 World Food Day program for being productive fish folks.

Fishing communities’ challenges

The main challenges of the fishing communities are:

  1. Illegal dumping of refuse at the waterfront which causes environmental degradation and threatens livelihoods. Cart pushers in cohort with street thugs illegally dispose refuse at the waterfront. The communities are collaborating with the authorities to stop the trend. Mr. Zebulon stated that Lagos State officials from the Ministry of Environment directed the LCDA to clear up the refuse.
  2. Illegal sand dredging which is clogging up water channels thereby preventing boat access to inlets to deliver fishing catch. The Lagos State Government and a foreign company (German) respectively, are the alleged parties involved in the dredging activities.
  3. Access roads are needed for ease of transportation of products from the waterfront to the trading stalls and locations across the State.
  4. Decrepit fish smoking facility and market which due to the dredging activities are inaccessible by the water channels. The cold room, generator set, and other equipment in the facility are in need of repair.
  5. Lack of equipment such as nets, boats, outboard engine, etc.

The fishermen cooperative is calling on well meaning persons and groups to support the fishing trade in Bariga through proactive advocacy and campaign for the inclusive rehabilitation of the waterfront communities and empowerment of fishermen through donation of funds and fishing equipment.

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