Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Oworu (2ndleft), presenting a Certificate of Occupancy for 375.09 hectares of land to the Chairman, Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Community, Ibeju – Lekki Area, Alhaji Tajudeen Jegede (right) in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on the Lekki Free Zone at the Conference Room of the Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. With them are: Chairman, Lekki Free Zone Community Relations Committee, Hon. Muslim Folami (left) and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wale Raji (3rd left).
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday, 18th June, 2014, issued Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) for 750 hectares of land in the Lekki Free Zone area to two development associations representing communities within the zone saying it is in fulfillment of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between government and the communities towards the development of the Free Zone.
The communities, who were represented by their associations at the ceremony were the Epe-Lagoon Area Development Association which got a certificate for 375.03 hectares and Lekki Coastal Area Development Association Resettlement Community which also got C of O for 375.09 hectares.
While Alhaji (Otunba) Bisiriyu Abiodun signed for the former, Alhaji Tajudeen Jegede signed for the latter.
Speaking at the conference room of the Lekki Worldwide Investment Limited, Ibeju Lekki, venue of the signing ceremony, the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Olusola Oworu, said the handover of certificates to the communities was in fulfilment of the promise made to them by the administration to formally grant land to them for farming and other activities.
According to the Commissioner, government had earlier ceded 394 hectares to the people and paid compensation to the communities all in line with the state’s obligations to the communities under the MOU adding that investments in the Lekki Free Zone would not only provide jobs to the huge unemployed people in the State but would boost the production of made-in-Nigeria goods.
“We are doing a lot to create employment for our people. We are doing everything possible to ensure that we encourage investors to come and invest in the Lekki Free Zone. That way, we will create jobs for our unemployed people while we develop our state,” the Commissioner said.
Noting that the communities whose land were acquired to locate the Zone had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government which included the need to cede land to them for farm work and other activities, the Commissioner expressed the confidence that investment in the zone would increase as investors would have more assurance to come in and invest.
“The presentation of C of Os to the communities today is in fulfilment of the promise made earlier to the communities. In fact one of the problems that we had in the past was that they complained that they needed land to farm and engage in other activities. So now that they have a land of their own, they can now engage in their own activities while the investors come and invest in the Zone,” the Commissioner said.
Mrs. Oworu further disclosed that the Lekki Free Zone Development Company was also embarking on a temporary power plant to boost economic activities in the area adding that by October this year, the plant would be ready.
“We are also embarking on a temporary power plant to serve the Zone so that new investors coming in will have light. By October this year the Plant will be ready. If they have light, the environment will be more conducive for them and activities are bound to accelerate,” she said.
Also speaking to journalists after the ceremony, the Oloja of Epe, Oba Kamorudeen Isola Animashaun, said the initiative of government to issue them with Certificates of Occupancy on the land would further boost the relationship between the communities and the investors in the Lekki Free Zone.
The Oloja, who said the issuance of the certificates was a pleasant surprise, thanked the Lagos State Government particularly, the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and the state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry assuring that the communities would cooperate with government to ensure the rapid development of the Zone.
“We thank the Lagos State Governor and the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry for a job well done. In the first place, we have to play our part in order to bring development into our communities. If we cooperate with the Government and the investors, development will come,” he said.
According to him, “The second point is that in order for our graduates to get jobs we need investments in the community and it is only when investments come that our children will get jobs. So it is good for us to welcome them and have good relationship with them.
“There is no way we will get the investments if we are chasing the investors away, because if we are chasing them away, why should they put their money down? They will take their money elsewhere”, the traditional ruler said adding, “We are happy today because we did not expect what we got today. We commend the commitment of the Government in ensuring the implementation of the agreement”.
The Chairman, Community Relations Committee for the Zone, Hon. Muslim Folami, while speaking to journalists also expressed joy that a cordial relationship has been established between the communities and government as well as the investors adding that the investment in the Zone was so important to the development of both the State and Nigeria.
Hon. Folami, who is also Special adviser to the Governor on Political and Legislative Power Bureau, declared, “I am happy that the communities are listening to us because this is a multi-billion Naira investment. I thank their Royal Highnesses for cooperating with us. It has given us a lot of mileage.
“Just think of it. Dangote has just come in and he promised a refinery and a petrochemical plant that would produce fertilizer. This is a big business that will go a long way to accommodate, to employ the graduates in the communities. We told them that other communities were in need of the investment. If they allow it to go that is the end”, he said.
Also present at the occasion were the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Wale Raji, the Onise of Ise, Oba Ganiyu Adegbesan, other traditional rulers and elders of the communities as well as other top government functionaries.