Lagos gets new date for Okobaba sawmill relocation



LIKE a heavy cloud, a deep sense of disquiet now hangs over the Okobaba sawmill, following a renewed effort by the Lagos authorities to upgrade the present blighted location, towards improving its urban regeneration in  Ebute Metta, Mainland area of the state.

If the official progress report released by the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development is anything to go by, the modern industrial sawmill complex at an environment- friendly site in Agowa, Owu Ikosi, in Ikosi Ejirin Local Council Development Area (LCDA), which kicked off in 2012 will be completed by the last quarter of this year. Currently, work on the infrastructure and amenities is already 70 per cent completed.

The state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde told The Guardian  that 100 band saw sheds and offices have been completed, while work is on-going on the remaining 50, bringing the total completed so far to 150 sheds.

Besides, the installation of sheet piles for shoreline protection covering a total length of 700 meters has also been completed, while dredging and sand filling of platforms for the band saw sheds and sales offices at the west, west central, central and east central axis have been completed. Work on the eastern axis is on-going and at an advanced stage.

Work has also started on the dredging and channelization of Rivers Shinwo and Odo Iya Pupa to link the lagoon and prevent flooding of the business area.  Other amenities completed include the meeting hall, two blocks of restaurants, while construction on two blocks of public toilet facilities are at advanced stages.

Ayinde disclosed that the  sign-off fee and fund approved for the construction of the link road (earth road) proposed to connect the project site with Itokin-Ikorodu highway has been obtained.

“Engagement of investors who have shown interest in converting saw dust waste into industrial products is ongoing. Required funds have been approved for movement of equipment and machinery for the saw millers and the auxiliary services such as saw doctors, engineering, wood planning, turning and photo frame workshop”, he said.

According to him, under the watch of the present administration, the project recorded tremendous achievements especially during the period under review.

Significantly, through stakeholders’ engagement a memorandum of understanding was sealed between the State Government and the Mainland Saw Millers Association, representing thirteen other subsidiary associations.

Although, the project site was initially to be sited in Ejinrin, a coastal community in Epe, but upon the discovery based on environmental impact assess ments (EIA), that the site was not good enough, the alternative was the present location-Agbowa-Ikosi axis.

The new project under construction commenced in 2012 when the project was awarded and the site handed over to the contractor Messrs First World Communities (FWC).

The Commissioner listed the possible advantages inherent in the project to include; employment opportunities; enhanced land and property values within project location and its environs; Improved land use planning, to enhance environmental sustainability, health and aesthetic quality; potential for the redevelopment of the site at Ebute-Metta in line with the operative Mainland Model City Plan and Redistribution of population and economic activities and infrastructure through balanced urban and regional planning.

Ayinde also stated that daily migration of people to the city of Lagos continues to have serious impact not only on the population and all aspects of the economy but also on the issue of accommodation. As a result of this, a lot of unplanned settlements and encroachments on both land and water by these immigrants have become a burden, thus, the ministry’s activities in Makoko, another slum area in need of regeneration.

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