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Igbesaland encroachment: Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone debunks allegation

Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone has debunked claims by some communities in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State that it encroached on 485 hectares of their land.

The Chinese investors at a press briefing on Monday said the claims published in the media (not Tribune Online) lack substantial evidence.

Addressing the press, Public Affairs Manager of the zone, Sebastian Jomah, said the portion of land in question was part of the 2000 hectares of land allocated to it by the government in 2007.

While saying that the Certificate of Occupancy of the said land was given to the zone, Jomah called on the state government to state and leaders of the communities to clear the air on the allegation.

Recall that some leaders of the communities under the aegis of ‘Concerned Families of Land Owners’ led by one Solomon Ajose had protested the alleged encroachment of the land.

Ajose was quoted to have said that issues with the Chinese investors started in 2017 when the zone sought for more lands.

Jomah who spoke alongside other officials of the zone at the briefing stated that the allegations are false and worrisome adding that it has impacted the will of the zone to expand and develop the zone.

He added that the zone has been making frantic efforts to ensure that more investors come into the state Igbesa.

“The Free Trade Zone Management has been facing relentless challenges from some factions of the community under the umbrella of ‘Concerned Families of Land Owners’ led by one Ajose Solomon on the Government Land Acquisition, Enumeration and Crop Compensation without any substantial evidence.

“Just a few days ago, this same faction published in two national newspapers, Punch and Vanguard respectively, albeit scandalously and falsely that ‘The Chinese are taking over their land’ resorting to defamation of Chinese whom have been magnanimous by their contributions is absolutely unacceptable by all concerned stakeholders.

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“These worrisome developments have been a major concern and a log in the wheel of expanding and developing the zone.

“We, therefore, call on the Ogun State Government, the host communities, leaders, elders and all concerned to assist in addressing these hydra-headed problems. We, the Zone Management office trusts in your capacity and capability in resolving these issues soonest.

“We are also calling on the newspaper representatives and journalists to investigate and come up with the true report and positions of the land allocated to the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone by the Ogun State Government.

“The Zone Management office has been doing its best towards making the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone of the best in the region.

“In the quest to attract prospective investors and develop the Free Trade Zone, it has engaged in aggressive marketing of the zone in China which is understandable,” Jomah said.

Elders and chiefs of the Igbesa community who were present at the zone expressed satisfaction on the developmental activities of the zone in the communities.

One of the chiefs, Chief Sharafadeen Obanla expressed gratitude to the zone particularly over the 6,000 indigenes and non-indigenes who are currently working in the zone adding that pressure should not be mounted on the zone based on false claims.

Obanla said, “the management of the free trade zone should be appreciated for employing over 6,000 young indigenes and non-indigenes of the communities around the zone. For all they have done, I think they should be appreciated and not given undue pressure.”

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