Lagos State Governor Fashola uses Dangote to entice Ibeju Lekki Chiefs to Surrender Lands
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola visited Ibeju Lekki residents today just days after authorizing police to force residents from their land.
Governor Fashola wants the area for the Lekki Free Zone project. Joining him was billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, whom the Government is interested in persuading to use the site for a refinery and petrochemical project.
At the meeting local chiefs occupied front seats with the Dangote Group as well as other investors. A source said some of crowd had been rented to respond favorable to the speeches.
During the meeting the front seat occupants frequently cheered the remarks of the Governor and Mr. Dangote.
Ibeju Lekki residents occupied the rear seats.
Governor Fashola said he had to plead with Dangote to consider the area for his refinery rather than another area and stated the benefits of siting the project in Ibeju Lekki.
He asked the crowd whether they wanted the project in the area or not?
Residents in the back rows loudly voiced their opposition to the project which annoyed the Governor as their voices were too loud to be ignored. He threatened to deal with them if their opposition disturbed investors from commencing work on the site.
Mr. Aliko Dangote said his project will train about 9,000 engineers, but he didn't say whether community youth would benefit from the training.
Representative of the Ibeju Lekki Federal Constituency, Mr. Abayomi Abdul-Kabir Ayeola also cursed a member of the community while making his vote of thanks. This was in response to his question whether the community had seen the benefits (gifts to local chiefs) of the project and he was told they had not.
A source told Saharareporters, Governor Fashola and other officials of the Lekki Free Zone project met secretly with local chiefs and made them sign over the lands on behalf of their communities.
Another source said the community chiefs of Idasho and Idotun did not participate in the meeting but other representatives were paid by the Government to represent the chiefs without their consent.
Landlords/ladies told Saharareporters they were not opposed to development but they were never consulted, nor were they told of any plan for compensation or resettlement.
Another source said their local chief sold out lands in the community without the consent of residents.
“Sometime in 2008,” one landlord said, “we were invited to Alausa … and they (Free Zone handlers) gave us N10,000 each. We were told it was for our transport, but they announced later that it was compensation for our lands.”
“How can they give us N10,000 as compensation and ask us to quit our residences? Our chiefs compromised all through and they are the gluttons responsible for everything to happen from this crisis,” he added.
After the meeting today, a source told Saharareporters, some members of the rented crowd were seen complaining they were not paid enough in their role of praising Dangote whenever he spoke