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The umbrella body of Chinese businesses under the auspices of Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa area of Ado-Odo Ota in Ogun state has cleared the air on an allegation of encroachment of 485 hectares of land levied against it by some members of the community.
The Public Affairs Manager, Mr Sabastine Ijomah debunked the encroachment allegation during a press briefing organised to refute the claims of their antagonists which is headed by one Mr. Solomon Ajose.
Mr Ajose had initially been reported to have said that there had not been issues with the Chinese investors until 2017 when they began to seek for more lands.
Ajose added that when the community leaders approached the Chinese on their actions, they threatened to deal with them, while referring to the 1977 acquisition.
While explaining their part of the issue, the Public Affairs Manager explained that the entire 2000 hectares land of the zone was allocated to it by the government in 2007 adding that the C of O was as well given to the free trade zone.
He added that the zone has been making frantic effort to ensuring that more investors comes into the state and most especially into Igbesa but complained that the allegation which he described as false and worrisome has been a clog in the wheel of expanding and developing the zone.
His words, “The Free Trade Zone Management has been facing relentless challenges from some factions of the community under the umbrella of “Concerned Families of Land Owners” led by one Ajose Solomon on the Government Land Acquisition, Enumeration and Crop Compensation without any substantial evidence.
“Just few days ago, this same faction published in two national newspapers, Punch and Vanguard respectively, albeit scandalously and falsely that “The Chinese are taking over their land” Resorting to defamation of Chinese whom have been magnanimous by their contributions is absolutely unacceptable by all concerned stakeholders.
“These worrisome developments have been a major concern and a log in the wheel of expanding and developing the zone.
“We, therefore, call on the Ogun State Government, the host communities, leaders, elders and all concerned to assist in addressing these hydra-headed problems. We the Zone Management office trusts in your capacity and capability in resolving these issues soonest.
“We are also calling on the newspaper representatives and journalists to investigate and come up with the true report and positions of the land allocated to the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone by the Ogun State Government.
Speaking on the development strides of the free trade zone, he also stressed that, “The Zone Management office has been doing its best towards making the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone of the best in the regain.
“In the quest to attract prospective investors and develop the Free Trade Zone, it has engaged in aggressive marketing of the zone in China which is understandable.”
Meanwhile, present at the briefing are; elders of the Igbesa community, chiefs and top management team of the free trade zone who jointly expressed satisfaction on the developmental activities of the zone in the communities surrounding the industrial cum business hub.
One of the chiefs, Chief Sharafadeen Obanla expressed gratitude to the zone adding that over 6000 indigenes and non indigenes are currently working in the zone.
He said, ” the management of the free trade zone should be appreciated for employing over 6000 young indigenes of the communities around the zone and non indigenes. For all they have done, I think they should be appreciated and not given undue pressure based on false.”