The Governor of Lagos State,
Lagos State House,
Your Excellency Sir,
GOVERNOR SANWOOLU: CAN YOU SAFE OUR LIVES AND GOVERNMENT INFRASTRUCTURE IN EPE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Your Excellency, when you observe the prevailing economic conditions across the world, there is no doubt that Nigeria as a country continues to be impacted negatively and this is more evident in the eroding purchasing power of the average Nigerian.
But one factor that remains prevalent, this is a very tough time for our leaders especially our Governors. It is in this light that we can appreciate the continuous efforts Your Excellency has been putting in enhancing infrastructural amenities across the State.
The number of projects commissioned in the Epe-Lekki axis in the last three years are commendable. We are not oblivious of the fact that you have greater plans to further lift Epe beyond the height achieved by your predecessors, considering the airport in the pipeline and the Lekki Port and Free Trade Zone already in operation.
What arrested our attention to write this letter is the billions of naira spent by the Lagos State Government on road infrastructures in Epe, within the past years and still counting to give Epe a developmental facelift, and seeing that those road infrastructures are being desecrated and destroyed by some individuals who are making illegal money from some Lagos State Government properties, without recourse to the efforts and money expended by the State Government to ensure that those road infrastructures were put in place and the mental and emotional health of the people.
There is an illegal dredging of sand along Oluwo Fish Market, opposite the Jubilee Charlet in Epe, which is already becoming horrifying, preposterous and disheartening to the residents of that vicinity, as the residents are being threatened with everyday presence of heavy duty trucks plying that road to the illegal dredging site. Having noticed that the illegal dredging has already become an endemic to the innocent residents hitherto enjoying that route, we painstakingly conducted our investigation into the circumstances surrounding the illegal dredging activities, and it was revealed that the kingpin behind the illegal dredging is the Oloja of Epe, Oba Kamourudeen Ishola Animasuan, who has been enjoying the proceeds from the illegal dredging without putting the concerns of the community into consideration.
We furthered our investigation and It was revealed that the land where the illegal dredging is taking place belongs to the Lagos State Government, which was originally designed to be a Jetty for potential customers who are willing to patronize the Jubilee Charlet or the Oluwo Fish Market from any part of the world, through water transportation, with the intention to ease traffic congestion on Lekki-Epe axis. Hence, when we had the privilege to have a one-on-one meeting with the Oloja of Epe, we informed him that the land belongs to the Lagos State Government and the dredging is already an endemic to the residents of that area, he fumed and stated that “nobody, not even the governor can stop him from continuous dredging on that land! He said further that he is the owner of Epe, any road user who is not pleased with the illegal dredging should leave his town”! Hence, we concluded that the Oba probably has some backing beyond the control of the Governor, that has made him to be so confident, to the extent that, even the Governor cannot stop the illegal dredging activities on that said land. We were even told that the Oba is always fond of making such statement, denigrating the person of our revered governor in the public!
In the face of what appears to be perpetual illegal dredging within the above stated axis in Epe, we interviewed some residents of the area, who expressed serious environmental concerns and severe degradation of the only road leading to the Oluwo Fish Market due to the heavy-duty trucks belonging to the Oba Kamourudeen Animashaun, visiting the illegal dredging site on a daily basis. They also expressed regret over the possible damage to the natural ecosystem and the imbalance this harmful activity might cause to the river banks.
One Salami Olatanwa said that, since the beginning of the illegal dredging, they have been in serious apprehension of fear, that due to the heavy-duty trucks visiting the area daily, economic activities in that area will soon be seriously affected because that is the only road leading to the Oluwo Fish Market. She said despite their complaint, nothing has been done to allay their fears because the king always boasts that nobody dares stop the illegal dredging activities. In the same vein, Omotola Akintola, a farmer said, sometimes, the heavy duty-trucks usually come to the site as early as 4.30am, in the morning, disturbing the peace around the area. He said, he wants the governor to please come to their aid to stop Oba Animashaun from the illegal dredging, by using the site for the original purpose of Jetty as projected by the previous administration of the State, before the Kabiesi renders the only road leading to the Epe Fish Market in a state of comatose with his illegal dredging activities.
All the people we interviewed on this matter have the same thought and appeals similar to the above, by so doing, unequivocally conclude without mincing words that if Your Excellency refused to quickly rise to the occasion of this matter in top gear to rescue the residents of this illegal dredging site, the new dual carriage way constructed by your administration leading to the Oluwo Fish Market will be so deplorable that it will inflict pains on the people of Epe plying the road and anybody from elsewhere who wants to patronize the major Fish Market and ultimately cripple the economic activities within that axis.
To corroborate the fears of the people residing within this axis, just recently, the news of some armed robbers who were arrested in Epe with guns and cartridges pervaded the social media, and it was in the news that a paramount ruler in Epe issued a cheque of two (2) million naira to solicit for the release of those armed robbers, under the guise that they are not armed robbers but they are working for him. This is an unambiguous indication that the paramount ruler usually uses the instrumentality of these armed hoodlums to threaten those who are displeased with the illegal dredging, with a view to further activating his illegal activities within that axis.
It is important to inform the Governor for the purpose of record that, when the road infrastructure in that axis becomes dilapidated, the illegal revenue or proceeds currently being enjoyed on daily basis by Oba Animashaun cannot be enough to ensure maintenance or rehabilitation of the said road when the Lagos State Government is ready to do so. A stich in time, saves nine.
We therefore join all the residents and the people of Epe to call for the intervention of the Governor of Lagos State to stop the stray of Oba Kamourudeen Animashaun from the continuous illegal dredging and the Governor should ensure that the State Government takes over the illegal dredging site immediately for the purpose of using same for its original purpose of Jetty as projected by the previous administrators of the State, so that you can take and enjoy the credit of putting a Jetty in that axis and putting a stop to the potential environmental threat the illegal dredging poses to the people of that axis and the community in general.
This is also a clarion call on Your Excellency to dissociate yourself from this paramount ruler who usually casts aspersion on the personality of the Governor at the slightest opportunity that he has the Governor in his pocket, and take decisive steps towards curbing the menace and illegal activities of this Epe paramount ruler so as for the Governor to repose trust and confidence in the people that you are not in support of illegality.
For the umpteenth time, a stitch in time, saves nine.
Alabi Adeola Adebayo
For and on behalf of the CONCERNED ELDERS OF EPE
Address: Ita-Marun Quarters, Epe, Lagos State
Phone No: 08181017029. Email: Concernedelders@hotmails.com