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WEIRD : Lagos Community Protests 17 Years of Total Darkness…Not connected to any Grid

The Gbaji-Seme Border Youth Initiative (GSBYI), an association of over 1000 youths residing within Gbaji-Seme border corridor of Badagry, led by the president, Comrade Badaru Basit, have cried out to governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state to deliver their community from 17 years of protracted darkness, as they have not been connected to the grid since that time.

In a march to the Alausa during the week, the group lamented what it described as foul play on the part of the contractors handling the project; pointing accusing fingers at some government officials for not painting a true picture of the situation on ground to the governor.

According to the group’s president and chief spokesperson, the commissioning of the electrification project which took place on May 23 this year, was a huge fraud, which according to him, should be investigated.

“I spoke with His Excellency before the commissioning, I told His Excellency that since my fathers, my grandfathers were born, they have never seen electricity. I told His Excellency that since I was born…I went to primary school, I went to secondary, I went to University, I came back home, I never saw electricity even till date.

“I appreciate His Excellency for the fact that that day His Excellency promised that our community will be electrified. With immediate alarcrity, we saw contractors working vigorously. They were so industrious that we were so happy that we have an action governor. A governor that whenever he says anything, it becomes an order. They were working assiduously but it was so disappointing, it was so disgusting that the project was commissioned on the 23rd of May, 2017.

“When they came for the commissioning, it was occasioned by the use of a generator. They used generator to commission the project. I spoke with the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Mr. Olawale Oluwo. I told him, sir, we cannot continue like this. I said we would not allow the commissioning to take place. He pleaded with me. I met with Mrs. Kasumu, she pleaded that we should allow the commissioning to come to pass. I met with Tunde Hunpe, the Special Adviser on Environment, he pleaded that we should allow the commissioning to hold…because they were only commissioning to commensurate the Lagos @50 celebration,” Basit said.

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He said because they are law abiding citizens, they allowed the commissioning to take place.
“We believed all their lies, their fallacies on the promise that they would revisit the electrification in two months after the commissioning. They assured us that we would have electricity, we have their pictures, video coverage and recordings. We have every evidence that will prove that they actually promised us and that they came.”

“We gave them two months. We discovered that after a heavy rainfall, all the poles mounted started falling, all the electric cables started falling. We discovered that all the materials used were fake. We have them in pictures, they’re nothing to write home about. So, we came to the conclusion that we would not allow His Excellency to be deceived further by those he has saddled with the responsibility of overseeing this project,” he said.

Basit wondered why people would commission an uncompleted project. He said they came to intimate the governor that Gbaji-Seme border had never had electricity, before and after the commissioning.

“Hence, there is need for us to know the state of Gbaji-Seme electricity. We’re here to hear from our governor, if we’re going to continue to be in darkness. We have been reading in darkness, we have been schooling in darkness, we’ve been engaging and marrying in darkness, we have been living in darkness; must we also die in darkness?

“Don’t forget that this area we’re referring to, is the highest revenue generating border of the federal government of Nigeria. Don’t forget that Seme border is an international community that is not only known in Nigeria but in the world. Don’t forget that when it comes to election, we deliver all polls for All Progressives Congress. There has never been a poll where PDP or any other party won us. Don’t forget that that same border community is where oil has been discovered. Last week, the governor came to constitute the committee of oil producing communities. If Badagry was not responsible, if it was not naturally-endowed, will all these good things be taking place in Badagry?” He lamented.

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Kehinde Joseph, Special Adviser to governor Ambode on Civic Engagement, addressed the agitating group. He told them that the government was not unaware of the suffering of the people of Gbaji-Seme, and that in fact, work would soon commence on site.

“Luckily enough, I was there at that Town Hall Meeting that he spoke about in respect of the Seme-Gbaji issues. I’m also quite aware of the issues he raised concerning the Customs Officers and smugglers, affecting them around that axis. This particular government you’re talking about is a government of inclusiveness, and that is what we have been doing.

“Gbaji-Seme is part and parcel of Badagry Local Government. Whenever you say government, it is a continuous process and that is what we have been doing, and governor Ambode is one who is so passionate about the people of Badagry. Since inception of this government, he has slept in Badagry for about six to seven times, which has never happened since the creation of Lagos state.

According to Joseph, Badagry was top priority for the present government and that a lot of infrastructural and developmental projects had been done in that axis.

“Back to the issue on ground, I’ve been briefed of the issues being faced by the people of Gbaji-Seme border. If you could remember vividly on that day, what he told us on that day was that for 17 years, they had never seen light. Even though according to the constitution of Nigeria, there is something they call residual, inclusive and concurrent list. Unfortunately, power is in exclusive list. But a government that believes in its people will not concern itself with such list. We have sworn to an oath to protect lives and property. Also, to make life conducive and create an enabling environment for them to live.

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“The issue of power generation involves everybody in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. Immediately the governor directed that work should be done. Unfortunately, that job, which had been awarded; I was told that there was a heavy storm which had an adverse effect on this particular job. Immediately this happened, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, swung into action. He has briefed His Excellency, who in turn, has approved…not only directed, approved that work should recommence on the project site. As I was coming here, I was briefed by the Commissioner that all necessary documents for procurement had been signed and that they were through with it. As such, this coming Monday (20 November), work will resume on site.

“Quote us, because when we’re talking, we’re speaking for the government, and this government whenever we promise, we fulfill it. I assure you that by December, you people are going to enjoy this light. This Christmas by God’s grace, you will enjoy light. They have put everything in place and you will surely see that action. His Excellency has approved it. I will still collect your communiqué and present it to him. I promise you that investigation will be opened regarding your allegations of a shoddy job done initially. We will also carry you along by including your people to be part of the investigation,” Joseph concluded.

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