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Apa Kingdom, the host community to
the recently found OML Aje Oil within Badagry West axis of Lagos State has
called on the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode to take urgent steps in
studying the Environmental Hazards Assessment of the project, if any, as it
will affect the community.

The call was made on behalf of the
Royal Father of the kingdom, His Royal Highness, Oba Oyekan Adekambi Ajose
Ilufemiloye Possi 111 (JP), by Prince Demola Bankole during the 94th Annual
Adult Harvest and Thanksgiving Service of the United African Methodist Church,
Apa, held last Sunday.

The Prince, who described the event
as a, “solely church affair,” however agreed that, it was an opportunity to
reflect on the affairs of the community about how God has blessed it
bountifully.

“Apa Kingdom is now blessed with oil
that is found within our kingdom. We have the deep water port, both of which
are of monumental economic issues. But one would have been happier if a lot of
things are feasible to our knowledge because right now we don’t even know the
essence of our community in all the happenings around us vis-a-vis the oil
discovery,” Bankole submitted.

Against this background, Bankole
therefore called on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode to “please
create more awareness about these oil fields, create more awareness about the
opportunities that would accrue to the communities and create more awareness
about the possible hazards the project may cause on the host community because
of its proximity to the oil field.”

According to him, with the
experience in Niger Delta, one should not wait until hazards start to happen to
affect the community’s means of livelihood adversely before those involved
start running from pillar to post, stressing that, “a lot needs to be done and
a lot needs to be known about precautions being taken to forestall avoidable
calamity.”

The spokesman, who expected the
Lagos State Government to assist in giving more knowledge about what is
happening around the Oil Fields as regards opportunities and the hazards
involved,” regretted that, “we seem to be in the dark,” cautioning that, “when
people are in the dark, we wouldn’t know what would happen at any given time in
the event of preventable hazards.”

In a situation like this, Bankole
averred that, “the organizations involved, especially Yinka Folawiyo group
ought to have emphasized the essence of what they are doing very well, and
this, as far as I am concerned is not good enough.”

He argued that, one of their social
responsibilities is to give knowledge of their activities to the community, saying,
it was again unfortunate that they pretend as if it was all about offshore oil.

“But then, offshore oil has its
environmental issues too. And if these are not properly coordinated, it will
result into conflict between the oil organization and the communities that are
within the proximity of the Aje Oil Field. “If the Environmental Impact
Assessment is something that is hidden, it is not going to augur well for both
the organization that is producing the oil and those who ought to know.
Because, if for one day there is oil spillage, even 40 kilometres away from the
shore, how long would it take the oil spilled to travel and come onshore? These
are the things the communities are concerned about,” Bankole pointed out.

Recalling with nostalgia, the concerned
spokesman informed that, since over 30 years ago, when the land in Apa Kingdom
was acquired by the Lagos State Government, the action had limited the scope of
the economic activities in the Apa Kingdom which he said, is about 7,000
hectres of land.

“We can hardly do anything with it
except of course, the tourism activities which are limited to the beaches. And
now, we have also realized that not far away from the beaches we have the oil
field. And if we are happy that we are within the proximity of oil production
in Lagos State, we are also careful about the possible effect or hazards that
may accrue. We don’t want a repeat of our suffering over the acquired lands
from the blessings at hand.

“This is why, the Lagos State
Government led by His Excellency, Governor Akinwumi Ambode should please let us
know exactly how the blessing would affect us, good or bad. We need to know.
And we also call on Yinka Folawiyo to broaden the horizon of their social
responsibilities. It is not about someone doing what he wants to do, but they
must be prepared to do it according to the dictate of the law,” he stated.

He therefore warned that, “Apa
community should not be seen by anybody as an ancient kingdom that is bereft of
technical expertise on the current issue,” disclosing that, they have people
who are knowledgeable, who actually have seen the entire world.

“Our
traditional ruler travels from time to time; he sees all these things and he
has encouraged his subjects that are knowledgeable to come together and deploy
their knowledge to help the community,” he concluded

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