Sixteen communities, as well as the Osinowo royal family of Taqwa-Bey, Abagbo, Itamaro village and its environs in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State have dissociated themselves from a petition purportedly written on their behalf by one Onoriobe Raymond Gold, against the proposed Integrated Oil and Gas Refinery that will be sited on Tomaro Island of Apapa riverine area of the state.
In a letter addressed to the Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, and signed by the 16 Baales of the various communities on the Osinowo island and the Osinowo family, the communities dissociated themselves from what they described as false representation of events on the island.
The communities also apologised to the company for the embarrassment caused by the petition.
The community leaders said they were aware of the plans of Integrated Oil for the island and had held several engagements with the company over the last two years.
They also revealed that they held a meeting with the company last month, which the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Environment also attended as part of the initial preparation for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“Integrated Oil and Gas has always engaged with our communities through us, the Baales and we have always passed down the information to members of our communities on their plans for the island. We know that these projects will bring developments like roads, borehole water and electricity to the island and provide jobs to our youth. It is clear that some people do not want progress to come to this island but instead would wish to blackmail Integrated Oil and Gas in the hope to make money for themselves, hence the wicked letter and publication by these fellows. We want the world to know that the person or persons do not represent the communities on Osinowo Island and should therefore be disregarded,” the communities explained.
The letter, which was obtained by THISDAY, was signed by Baale of Agala 1, Chief Isa Okeshina; Baale of Agala 2, Chief Akesode; Baale of Ikate, Chief Ikate; Baale of Ifako, Chief James Ebenezer; Baale of Kwakoji, Chief Benerd Wetto; Baale of Tomaro, Chief Sulaimon; Baale of Akopanawa, Chief Usanowhe; Baale of Sabokoji, Chief Anthony and Baale of Shiku, Chief Shewanu Isiku.
Other signatories include Baale of Irede, Chief Femi Alade; Baale of Ganve, Chief Samuel Ganveh; Baale of Araromi, Chief Adepetu; Baale of Agbogbedo, Chief Wesu Oseni; Baale of Ituagan, Chief Ikuesan; Baale of Igase, Chief Samuel and Baale of Igbo Alejo, Chief Adeiyi Aderibole.
THISDAY also gathered that on receipt of the petition, the Federal Ministry of Environment convened an open forum in Lagos where the petition was read with representatives of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront, Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and all community development associations (CDAs) present.
At the forum, the petition was read and the communities refuted all the points raised by the petitioner, insisting that they were untrue.
Based on the position of the communities, the stakeholders passed a resolution that: “that the community supports the Tomaro Island Refinery Project; that the communities dissociate themselves from the petition written by Raymond Gold and articulated by Augustina Armstrong Ogbonna; that the EIA process had started as far back as December 2015 and currently ongoing; that physical development of the project is yet to commence; that the communities insist that Raymond Gold apologises to all relevant regulatory bodies and also Integrated Oil and Gas Limited for the embarrassment that he has caused all concerned.”
The communities also held a press conference where they refuted the allegations contained in the petition.