By FOSTER OBI
The Federal Government may have concluded plans to relocate the illegal settlers at the Ogogoro village, adjacent the Apapa Port control towers, to make way for the construction of a new port, which has been on the cards for sometime now.
Captain Ihenacho Ebubeogu, Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) General Manager, Marine and Operations, told members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, recently, that the continued occupation of that space by the settlers constitute an impediment to proper development of the port, due to the peculiar nature of the location.
The general manager explained that the settlers came to the village, as a result of their displacement from Maroko area of Victoria Island and has remained there for long. He noted that the settlement has become a hotbed for all kinds of criminality adding that as soon as the NPA gets the nod from the Federal and Lagos State governments, the development process would commence.
Chairperson of the Senate Committee, Senator Zainab Kure, noted that the decision to move the settlers to give way for a new development is not the prerogative of NPA since they have to get the necessary approval before any work is done. She said that NPA should work with the Ministry of Transport as well as the Lagos State Government to ensure a smooth relocation of the settlers so as to have an unimpeded port development.
According to her: “The project is not for NPA per-se to do the resettlement; NPA has to do it under the directive of Transport Ministry and the Ministry under the directive of the Federal Government in consultation with Lagos State Government,” adding, “And we have said that if you are going to relocate people from where they are, you have to provide an alternative, particularly if where they were is to be used for the interest of the nation.
She explained that other stakeholders should be carried along in the course of relocating the settlers from their place of domicile. Senator Oluremi Tinubu, wife of former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu and a member of the Committee while contributing said that the settlement and its settlers should be handled simultaneously with the proposed port development affirming that once the place is developed, it will reduce the incidence of criminality in the area.
NPA General Manager, Public Affairs, Chief Micheal Ajayi said that when the proposed port development is completed, it will facilitate trade, reduce the cost of shipping while providing a big boost to the economy of the country.