There is palpable confusion looming in the sleepy town of Badagry over the proposed location of the $2.6 billion Badagry Deep Seaport project. This is even as prominent indigenes have bemoaned the non-inclusion of locals in the planning and execution of the project.
Speaking to Journalists after the All Nigeria Maritime Journalists Retreat held in Badagry, the Mobee of Badagry Kingdom, High Chief Menu Toyon, explained that indigenes of the town are not being carried along in the deep seaport project.
According to the Mobee of Badagry Kingdom, “I am delighted about the prospect of maritime business coming to Badagry, however, we have not been carried along.
“From the arrangement on ground, 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 percent are they giving to the stakeholders, I mean owners of the land? Let the APM Terminal come and meet the stakeholders and talk to us.
“To build the deep seaport, they are going to use some peoples’ properties. They are going to dislocate some people lands, 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.
“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 and the Lagos State government. Oil exploration is going on with crude being taken but the stakeholders (locals) living on the oil exploration area doesn’t have anything to show for it, we are in the dark.”
On their expectation from government, he explained that, “In 1873, arbitrators were appointed on this axis, I have the document and everything is with me. Now before starting anything here, there must be peace accord and amiable settlement between the locals and APM Terminals to avoid a repeat of what happened in Niger Delta.
“The deep seaport idea is welcomed in Badagry. It is going to bring influx of people into Badagry. 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 emphasising on, we should be carried along and that is my submission.”
On likelihood of youth restiveness, he added that, “Youth restiveness is taking place across the country but in Badagry, we are peace-loving people. What happens in Niger Delta cannot happen here because we know how to go about our people. We control them. They listen to us. If I call my people now that I want to see them, they will come here en-mass.
“We have eight quarters in Badagry, we are not hostile. The way they nurtured us right from youth cannot permit us to be violent like Niger Delta.”