Governor Babatunde Fashola had at a forum accused Obanikoro of leading soldiers to disrupt work at the Ilubirin Housing Scheme. Obanikoro, however, described the allegation as false.
Obanikoro also challenged Fashola to present the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, of the scheme to the public, saying the state government was only engaged in illegal development that would endanger the lives of people on Lagos Island as developing that scheme would lead to flood in the area.
“While I was contemplating a proper response to this comment allegedly made by Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, at the celebration of his 2,500 days in office, the media was awash with different versions of concocted lies in the following days to my greatest shock and amazement. The All Progressives Congress (APC), in its continuing debasement of party politics in Nigeria and trivialization of issues embarrassingly lent its voice, calling me land grabber among other names,” the minister stated.
The senator said the massive deployment of cheap lies and blackmail by the Lagos State Government and its party in the bid to force its ideas and ways down the throat of the governed could not have been more obvious than in this situation, saying that concerned Lagosians and discerning individuals would observe that work was still ongoing on that piece of land at a fast pace.
“I think Lagosians deserve to know the truth in relation to my role in this brouhaha that has been whipped up by the Lagos State Government in the bid to cover up their inadequacies and inhuman programmes,” he said in a statement.
According to him, “a few weeks ago while passing through the Ilubirin area of the State on my way to a function, I observed a beehive of activities on the reclaimed strip of land. I could not ignore the large banner proclaiming the development as “Ilubirin Housing Estate” placed strategically around the piece of land.
“As a concerned Lagosian, I was immediately worried for a number of reasons. And to assuage or confirm my fears, I made an unscheduled visit to the land on the fateful day in question to take a physical assessment of the land. Perhaps the presence of the military men attached to my convoy is what was termed ‘commando-like’ by the Lagos State Government, but one would expect that the Governor should know better if his intentions are genuine.
“This is because, beyond a physical inspection of the land by my team, no attempt was made to disturb workers on the site. It, therefore, was a mirage that the Governor saw what he allegedly claimed to be a deployment of solders to the land and the phantom signpost proclaiming the land a Federal Government property. The reason why the Lagos State Government was preempting my actions and that of the Federal Government on the ongoing development on the Ilubirin reclaimed land is obvious.
“The original reclamation of the lagoon that created the Ilubirin housing site (reclaimed land) was illegal. The Nigerian Inland Waterway Act of 1997, Sections 10, 11, 12 and 13 made this activity illegal without the approved consent of the Nigerian Inland Waterway Authority. I doubt if such approval exists for the dredging of the lagoon floor to fill a part of the same lagoon by the State government. Given the commencement of development on that land by the state government today, it is clear who the land grabber is,” he said.
“I dare the Lagos State Government to make the EIA and necessary approvals on the Ilubirin development public if such exist for all to see and evaluate. I am convinced that developments that are for the interest of the few at the expense of many would hardly stand the test of time. To Lagosians, it is important to demand for a comprehensive EIA on the Ilubirin development from the state government and demand a shutdown of the project if such does not exist,” he added.
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