LAGOS—Witnesses at the ongoing tribunal of inquiry into the October 12, 2015 civil disturbances that led to the death of Managing Director of Lekki Worldwide Investment Nigeria Limited, Mr. Tajudeen Disu, yesterday, blamed the lingering crisis in the area on the alleged faulty Memorandum of Understanding, MoU signed between the Lagos State government and the communities.
The MoU was signed nine years ago for the acquisition of 16,500 hectares of land for the construction of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, LFTZ.
The witnesses representing the communities argued that the residents were not duly consulted before drafting the MoU and were allegedly forced to sign it, noting “the drafting of the MoU was not free and fair.”
Speaking at the third day of the public hearing, Mr. Mukandasi Ogidan, a lawyer in the community, lamented that the crisis that led to the death of Disu could have been averted if the state government and the investors had at least adhered to content of the faulty MoU.
He said; “They did not adhere to this. For instance, the MoU stated that the residents must be awarded 40 percent of the contract work. Rather than award it to the land owners, the contract was awarded to non-indigenes. The residents complained over it. But nothing was done.”
Ogidan noted that the non-adherence to the MoU led to late Disu rejecting the incentives from the investors. The deceased argued that the MoU must be adhered to.
Demand for fresh MoU
On the solution to the lingering crisis, Ogidan said; “The Lagos state government, investors and the residents must sign a fresh MoU, and that the MoU should not be combined but it should be community-by-community. With this, there will be peace in the communities.
“The joint MoU did not allow each community to present their demands. The government used the challenges confronting one community for others,” he added.
Counsel representing Idaso and other 12 villages, Mr. Bamidele Ogundele also warned that there must be transparency in the fresh MoU, saying that the process leading to the first MoU signed nine years ago was not transparent.