The Ibasa/Ijegun Egba indigenes in the Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State have condemned the call by some residents of Satellite Town for the relocation of tank farms in the area to avert disaster.
A protest, which was staged last Tuesday, was organised by some residents under the auspices of the community development associations of various streets in Ibasa/Ijegun Egba, Satellite Town and Amuwo Odofin.
The indigenes, who claimed that the protesters were unknown to them, said their action was a calculated attempt to cause a crisis in the community.
They said the relocation of the tank farms would be a major disadvantage to the state and might lead to the scarcity of petroleum products.
In a statement signed by the Youth Chairman, Taofeeq Odunewu; and Vice Chairman, Seliu Kazeem, the indigenes said tank farm operation had since 2011 boosted the community’s economy and infrastructure through employment and road construction.
The statement read in part, “We will like to say categorically that those, who protested against the presence of tank farms in our community, are unknown to us and they are not indigenes of this community; as a result, they cannot claim to be representing our interest but their own selfish interest.
“It is on record that the tank farms began operation in the community in the year 2011 with First Deep Water Oil, and since then, with the emergence of other tank farms, they have employed some young able persons and we are hoping that they will pay back the community in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility.
“We are aware of the alarming unemployment rate in the state and any attempt to move the tank farms as canvassed by the dissenting residents of the community will make the youth jobless and will further lead such individuals to crime.
“It is also worthy to categorically state that the tank farms have collectively maintained the Marwa Road, which is the major road to our community, over the years. At the moment, major civil engineering works are going on to rehabilitate the Marwa Road and reconstruct the Pioneer Road, courtesy of the tank farms. They need to be encouraged.”
The indigenes, who stated that relocating the farms was not the solution to the problem of bad infrastructure in the area, suggested that better monitoring by stakeholders and the provision of firefighting services to stem unexpected fire incidents, among others, would achieve the same result.
They said, “The major issue to the tank farms’ problems is not moving them out of the community but having a roundtable discussion with credible stakeholders in the community to proffer solutions to the identified problems.
“The local council office should create an office for monitoring the activities of the tank farms. The Federal Government and the Lagos State Government should assist the community in the expansion of the Mumin Adio Badmus Road to a double carriageway to meet the increase in economic activities on the road.
“The dissenting members, who are tenants in the community, must be immediately stopped from taking the laws into their own hands and must also be directed by the relevant authorities to open all link/alternative roads such as Juveniles Street, Divine Street and Mustapha Street, which link Alebioshu and Alebioshu to the Navy Gate-Alakija. If the above is achieved, it will definitely reduce the pressure on the Mumin Adio Badmus Road.”
Some residents of Satellite Town and Ijegun Egba had last week Tuesday protested at the secretariat of the Oriade Local Council Development Area against the indiscriminate location of tank farms in the areas.
In a protest letter, which was read by the Chairman of the Satellite Town Forum, Mr Governor Imitini, the residents pleaded with the federal and Lagos State governments to relocate the tank farms from the areas, noting that their continued existence was dangerous to the entire communities that make up the Satellite Forum.
Imitini reiterated that the area, which was developed in the 1970s, was primarily for residential purposes and not for commercial activities.
He explained that the areas did not have a large expanse of land and structures for such business activities.
Imitini after reading the save our soul letter, which was titled, ‘We are dead; please relocate these tank farms and container terminals’, to the Chairman of the Oriade LCDA, Mrs Ramotalai Hassan, handed it over to her for onward transmission to the federal and Lagos State governments.
The forum chairman stressed that the areas were made up of all the estates, streets and road, closes, which were being accessed from the old Ojo, Navy, Mummuni Adio Badmus, Community and Shell-Abiodun roads.
Imitini stated, “We bemoan our state of desolation. We wish to draw the attention of all levels of government to the very deplorable situation our community, the Satellite Town, Lagos, has been subjected to by tank farms, tankers and trucks; they operate a bonded warehouse in Alakija, while a container terminal is currently being constructed at Liverpool Zone 2, a residential estate.
“We are surprised that our cries of distress have yet to be comprehensively acted upon by the authorities as these private investors place us under siege.
“We appeal to the federal and state governments to save our lives by relocating the tank farms as well as revoking the licences of those who fraudulently procured them. None of them engaged the community in environmental impact assessments before their approvals.
“We ask that they leave the community in at most five years. They should be relocated. Their licences should be audited and those who fraudulently got them should be sanctioned and their licences revoked.”