Fashola brings Dangote to Lekki free trade zone
Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) yesterday inaugurated the Lekki Free Trade Zone with Nigeria’s foremost conglomerate, Dangote Group of Industries, taking the lead.
The group’s President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, got the cooperation of the host community that his billions of naira investments in the zone would be protected.
Other potential investors also got the same assurance.
The Dangote group brought to the zone its proposed refineries and petrochemical company. This signalled the formal take-off of the free trade zone in the area.
Addressing reporters after the ceremony, Fashola said the inauguration was a breakthrough in the quest to fast-track the development of the zone.
The governor, who acknowledged that there was no relationship without some misunderstanding, said: “We have reached an agreement in public. There has been a clear understanding today. We spoke in local language and dialects and you can see that by clear show of hands the people themselves have given their support. It wasn’t a voice vote; it was a unanimous show of hands that they want this project. So, we are ready to go.”
Fashola noted that whenever there is a misunderstanding, the government has to ensure that such does not disrupt the activities in the trade zone.
He said: “I find it hard to reconcile the demand for jobs and disturbing the factories and industries that will provide jobs.”
The excited governor added: “Lekki Free Trade Zone is beginning to take shape. The master plan is being realised; investors are trouping in. Tank farms and major refineries are springing up to service the demands of the country and make room for export. The refineries create a major selling point and release of the opportunities that lie ahead in this zone, create opportunities for the local people and the potentials for Lagos and the Nigerian economy.”
Dangote hailed Fashola for establishing the trade zone.
The foremost industrialist said it would be the biggest of such zones in Africa.
He said: “Looking at what the governor has done by bringing this here, I can assure you that this is going to be the biggest free trade zone on the African continent. I know the people will begin to show their appreciation.”
Dangote was confident that the zone would hold enormous economic benefits for Lagos State and Nigeria.
He said: “For instance, there is no way we can put down over $9 billion of our money here without making sure that the zone is going to work.”