By Eromosele Abiodun
There are indications that the proposed Badagry deep seaport project may be stalled following what the host communities described as neglect by the federal, state governments and APM Terminal, the majority shareholder in the proposed project.
In an interview with journalists, the Mobee of Badagry Kingdom, High Chief Menu Toyon, who is also the spokesman of the communities, expressed worry that APM Terminal and other stakeholders have not taken step to address the concerns raised by the host communities regarding their equity participation.
Toyon said: “Some peoples’ properties are going to be used, some people will be relocated; but I will tell you that when you light a candle and put a paper on top of it, there is bound to be fire. Let the APM Terminal come and meet with the stakeholders and talk to us.’’
He noted: ’’Though we held a meeting about two years ago, we have not heard from them since then. The state government will be having 20 per cent, federal government will be having 20 per cent and APM terminal will be having 60 per cent, which is 100 per cent, what percentage are they giving to the stakeholders, I mean owners of the land?
“My grandfather was among the first farmers at the Gberefu beach land in the 1880s and till now, we the stakeholders have nothing to show that things are coming to Badagry. Good, It has been approved by the federal government, Lagos state welcomed it, oil exploration is going on with crude being taken but the stakeholders in the oil exploration area don’t have anything to show for it, we are in the dark.”
He said: “For now, there is no disagreement between the federal or state government and the stakeholders, but what we are expecting now since the inauguration has been done in Denmark by Ambode where he appointed Ernest Shonekan, the former interim president and chairman of the APM terminal is for parties to reach a compromise on the issues at stake.
“In 1873, arbitrators were appointed on this axis, I have the document and everything is with me. Now before starting anything, there must be peace accord, amiable settlement between the stakeholders and APM Terminal. We welcome the idea in a very good direction but at the same time, we are in fear that what happened in Niger Delta does not to happen in Badagry.”
On the impact of the host communities opposition to the establishment of the seaport, he stated: “I said it earlier that it is a welcome idea, Badagry has been suffering for ages and this time that they brought deep seaport which I will tell you almost 90 per cent of Badagry people don’t know what it means until last week when they held a conference at ASCON to enlighten our youths about what we are going to experience.
“Now, it is going to bring influx of people, it is going to provide employment opportunities for our children even the yet unborn children but all the same, the stakeholders must be carried along, this is what I am emphasizing on, we should be carried along, that is my submission.”
By Eromosele Abiodun