Okobaba: Stakeholders Disown Suit Against Lagos Govt’s Relocation Plan | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Okobaba: Stakeholders Disown Suit Against Lagos Govt’s Relocation Plan

Posted: Apr 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)


Ejikeme Omenazu



Six associations plying their trade in Okobaba Foreshore in Ebuta-Metta, Lagos, faulted a suit before a Federal High Court in the state challenging their planned relocation to new Ultra Modern Sawmill in Agbowa-Ikosi, a suburb of Ikorodu, by the state government.

The associations are Lagos Mainland Sawmillers Association, Association of Planning Machine Operators, Association of Engineers comprising Turners, Welders, Blacksmiths and Rewinders, Wooden Turners Association, Carpentry and Furniture Association and Photo Frame Association.

A group made up of Timber Dealers, Sawyers, and Towing Vessel Owners, through Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, their counsel, had filed a suit on behalf of the stakeholders in Okobaba asking the court to restrain the Lagos State government from relocating them to Agbowa.

Speaking at Alausa, Ikeja, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Onikeku, President of Sawmillers Association, who spoke with executives of other six critical associations in Okobaba, said that apart from the fact that they were not contacted before the suit was purportedly filed on their behalf, they had no reason whatsoever to stop the good intention of the government in relocating them.

Alhaji Onikeku said that those who purportedly filed the suit lacked the interest of the generality of stakeholders at heart, adding that the Ultra Modern Sawmill prepared for them at Agbowa by the state government was the first of its kind in Africa.

Recalling how it all started, Onikeku said he was at the time the General Secretary of the Association when the idea of relocation started, adding that the project was first mentioned by Alhaji Lateef Jakande, former Lagos State governor, in 1979.

He said: “As at that time, Alhaji Jakande wrote us a letter and the letter was copied Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Premier of the Old Western Region, and he (Awolowo) indeed wrote to us as well and promised that all that we needed would be provided before we are relocated to the new site.

“Unfortunately, Jakande could not start the project but it came up again during the tenure of Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“We were about to be relocated to Ejirin but we soon find out that the Lagoon at Ejirin was too deep for our business and there was no sufficient land that could cater for the people from Okobaba.

“We stood our ground then that we could not move to a place that would not be sufficient for all of our members.

“In the end, Tinubu saw reason with us and told us to go and look for a suitable place, which we did. We are the ones who located Agbowa and went back to the then Governor, who then approved it and ordered that everything must be done before our relocation.

“Eventually, Tinubu’s successor, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, started the project and one fact I must point out is that we the stakeholders planned how the new Sawmill will look like with the engineers, to tell you that we were actively involved and that government carried us along right from when the idea was conceived.

“Governor Fashola wanted to commission the project by December of 2014, I refused because the project had not been completed and he agreed with us. Then, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode came and continued the project.”