By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has approved a total sum of N740,461,432 as compensation for host communities of Parcel B comprising Yegunda, Abomiti and International Airport site of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ).
Mr Ambode gave the approval on Thursday, pointing out that the development was in line with his commitment to engender a sustainable cordial relationship between the host communities and investors in the LFTZ.
Announcing the development at a media briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa,
Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives in the state, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, said ever since coming on board, Governor Ambode has seriously and holistically addressed the salient need to compensate the host communities, adding that remarkable progress had been recorded in that regard.
With Mr Ogunleye at the occasion were the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Mr Benjamin Olabinjo; Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mr Muslim Folami; the Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited, Dr Tunde Sodade, among others.
Mr Ogunleye, while stating that the State Government has continued to engage the host communities ever since the LFTZ project started in 2004, noted that the engagement principally centred on the need for the communities to recognize the multiplier effects of the project in terms of employment generation and the value to be added to the socio-economic lives of the people.
He said already, modalities were being put in place to ensure hitch-free payment of the approved N740 million, adding that the payment would be effected with immediate effect.
Responding to questions, Mr Ogunleye said the compensation exercise was a continuous process, revealing that N65 million was paid early this year for land owners affected by the ongoing Dangote projects which included petrochemical plant, gas project, fertilizer and refinery project capable of refining 650, 000 barrels of oil per day.
He said before now, the host communities of the 3,000 hectares of land housing the LFTZ Development Agency, a company jointly owned by the State Government and a consortium of Chinese investors, were heavily compensated, adding that more land owners would be compensated in due course at the end of verification and valuation exercise.
“Let me reiterate once again, the commitment of this administration to Community Social Responsibility (CSR) and its readiness to continue to heed the yearnings of our people in the areas covered by the LFTZ and its complementary projects. I also need to assure both local and foreign investors that all our projects in the corridor are fully on course and as an administration, we are fully committed to them.
“At this time of economic downturn, our State as the nation and Sub Saharan economic hub is providing this investment platform with huge potentials as the best destination for direct investment. We are providing appropriate road infrastructure to ease the operations of investors in the zone and we will continue to sustain the friendly operating environment that now subsists,” Mr Ogunleye said.
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