Ambode approves N740m compensation for Lekki free zone host communities, donates N5m to student entrepreneurs
Posted by News Express | 15 September 2016 | 1,601 times
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday approved a total sum of N740,461,432.00 as compensation for host communities of Parcel B comprising Yegunda, Abomiti and International Airport site of the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ).
He also, today, donated N5 million to two students of Lagos State College of Health Technology who designed new technology of generating Biogas through the treatment of animal waste.
Lagos Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, announced the approval of the LFTZ compensation at a media briefing held at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa. He said the development was in line the commitment of the Ambode administration to engender a sustainable cordial relationship between the host communities and investors in the LFTZ.
Ogunleye addressed the briefing alongside the Special Adviser to the Governor on Commerce, Hon. Benjamin Olabinjo; Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Hon. Muslim Folami; and Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investments Limited, Dr. Tunde Sodade, among others. He said ever since coming on board, Governor Ambode has seriously and holistically addressed the salient need to compensate the host communities, adding that remarkable progress had been recorded in that regard.
While stating that the State Government has continued to engage the host communities ever since the LFTZ project started in 2004, Ogunleye said the engagement principally centered on the need for the communities to recognise the multiplier effects of the project in terms of employment generation and the value to be added to the socio-economic lives of the people.
He said already, modalities were being put in place to ensure hitch-free payment of the approved N740 million, adding that the payment would be effected with immediate effect.
Responding to questions, Ogunleye said the compensation exercise was a continuous process, revealing that N65 million was paid early this year for land owners affected by the ongoing Dangote projects which included petrochemical plant, gas project, fertilizer and refinery project capable of refining 650,000 barrels of oil per day.
He said before now, the host communities of the 3,000 hectares of land housing the LFTZ Development Agency, a company jointly owned by the State Government and a consortium of Chinese investors, were heavily compensated, adding that more land owners would be compensated in due course at the end of verification and valuation exercise.
“Let me reiterate once again, the commitment of this administration to Community Social Responsibility (CSR) and its readiness to continue to heed the yearnings of our people in the areas covered by the LFTZ and its complementary projects. I also need to assure both local and foreign investors that all our projects in the corridor are fully on course and as an administration, we are fully committed to them,” Ogunleye said.
Ambode was, however, physically present at the event involving the student entrepreneurs.
Among the key recipients were Sarunmi Oluwafemi and Dada Samuel, who stood out among the 422 successful graduates of the Ready, Set, Work (RSW) programme of the State Government targeted to equip graduates of tertiary institutions in the state with necessary entrepreneurial skills and to make them emerge as ready products for the increasingly competitive labour market, as well as job creators.
Oluwafemi and Samuel, who emerged as first place winners of the pitch competition of the programme, were equally given N1 million seed funding and placed on N100,000 monthly working capital for six months, all geared towards encouraging their business idea to grow.
The business idea, which is Biogas production, involves the treatment of animal waste in order to generate Biogas which can be used for domestic cooking, generation of electricity and other purposes. The technology is targeted at providing a potential substitute for the ever costly liquefied petroleum gas.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Governor Ambode said his administration remained strongly committed to capacity building, entrepreneurship empowerment, and sustainable youth development, adding that the RSW initiative was one of the initiatives targeted at youth empowerment.
While stating that the future of Lagos and indeed the country lies in the hands of the youth who constitute a significant portion of the population, Governor Ambode said his objective is to allow students of tertiary institutions in the State have access to initiatives such as the RSW and other programmes.
The Governor, who invited public and private sector such as non-governmental organisations, international agencies, and well-meaning Lagosians, to partner with the State Government in raising students and youths who will transform the state, the country and indeed, the world, also vowed to increase the number of students in the pilot scheme of the RSW programme from 500 in 2016 to 1000 in 2017.
Besides, Governor Ambode congratulated the 422 successful graduates of the scheme, recalling that the RSW, which lasted for 13 weeks, had been a journey requiring passion, diligence, discipline and perseverance.
The Governor also advised the students to remain committed to the ideals that brought them so far, especially in the face of ongoing economic challenges.
“This is a time to push ahead with the same strength and focus that brought you to this point, and to pursue with vigour the knowledge, skills, and ideas formed in you over the last three months,” he said.
The Governor, who announced employment opportunities with the State Government for some of the graduates, also appreciated the private firms who partnered with the government to ensure the success of the 2016 programme.
Apart from the first place winners of the pitch competition, second place winners – One Box Group was given N500,000 and placed on N100,000 monthly working capital for six months, while the third place winners – Artisans On Campus, a group with online business plan, was given N250,000 and equally placed on N100,000 monthly working capital for six months.
Also, 80 students were placed on apprenticeship slots, while 92 were placed on employability module.
Earlier, Special Adviser to Governor Ambode on Education, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, in his welcome address, said the RSW scheme, which witnessed 13 weeks of intensive training in partnership with corporate Nigeria, was in response to the need to churn out graduates who will be equipped with the needed entrepreneurship skills to contribute meaningfully to nation building.
•Lagos State Government House Photo shows Governor Ambode with the student entrepreneurs.