Community leaders in the sixteen villages that make up Ibeju-Lekki in Lagos State have accused businessman Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Oil Refinery Company of using the police and army to abuse locals’ fundamental human rights. They accused the controversial businessman of planning to use a section of the land to build a petrochemical plant and refinery without paying compensation, sparking anger in local residents.
In the petition, the community accused the management of the Lekki Free Trade Zone Ltd. and Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd. of illegal trespass on their land without paying compensation. In a petition issued on behalf of the leaders by their lawyer, Barrister Paul Ogundele, the community leaders also faulted the companies’ procurement of the Certificate of Occupancy from the Lagos State government without their knowledge.
The community has at several times threatened a showdown with both the companies and the Lagos State government unless they are duly and properly compensated. Since the beginning of the disagreement, the locals of the community have been accusing the companies of using the instrumentality of officers of the Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Army to harass them.
Die-hards in the community revealed emotional, graphic details of how residents and leaders were chastened, assaulted, and brutalized by thugs working on the orders of the company for opposing the move to forcefully take over their land. Many have accused the government of Lagos State of attempting to take over the Ibeju-Lekki land area from the original owners of the community for the Free Trade Zone project .
The copy of the petition partly read:
“That the purported acquisition is not for overriding public purposes under section 28(1)&(2) Land Use Act, 1978 in view of the fact that incorporated documents of your company overwhelming showed that a China Company, Ccecc-Beyond International Investment and Development Company Ltd, Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd are the tow companies behind the Lekki Free Trade Zone Limited.
“Sir, the two directors of the Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd are subordinates of former Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, namely Mr. Gawando Olusegun Abayomi and Mr. Oworu Oyewola Oyeniyi. In essence, the purported acquisition is not for Lagos State Government but tailored towards enriching some individuals.
“Our clients’ lands were used for trading through the 250, 000 shares allotted to Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd in Lekki Free Trade Zone Limited.
“That presently your company namely Lekki Free Trade Zone Ltd and Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd are perpetuating fraud through issurance of sublease agreements to private companies and commercializing our clients land.
“That lekki Free Trade Zone Ltd and its subsidiary Lekki Worldwide Investment Ltd and Dangote Refinery Nigeria Ltd and the official of Directorate of Land Bureau are using instrumentality of the Nigeria Police and Army authorities respectively to violate fundamental human rights of our client through invasion of their villages destruction of their farmlands, fish ponds, use of tear gas and canister, assault and degradation of human dignity of our client.”