The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa has convened a dialogue meeting with youths and women leaders in Ibeju Lekki impacted by the Dangote Refinery. The session held on Saturday, August 5 in Lagos, had affected residents from three communities directly affected by the refinery project. The communities are Magbonsegun, Okesegun and Okeiyanta.
The session was themed “Dialogue with Residents of Ibeju Lekki on Rights Agitations, Priority Shaping and Systems Engagement.”
Philip Jakpor, CAPPA Director of Programmes welcomed the representatives of the communities comprising youths, community development committee officials and women leaders.
Jakpor said that CAPPA decided to convene the dialogue following reports that locals were yet to get real benefits from the refinery. Residents including youths and women expressed worry that their habitation may end up like the environmentally impacted Niger Delta, adding that the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme operated by the management of the refinery towards them was not impactful.
“CAPPA decided to hear directly from the affected communities and amplify their concerns since what we hear is similar to what the oil multinationals are doing in the Niger Delta.”
Representatives from these communities complained that their communities had been disconnected from electricity for over 10 years while electricity at the refinery was “24/7.” They added that most of the boreholes sunk were no longer functional and the accompanying generators had broken down, the main roads that were merely graded and in a bad shape.
Wosilatu Apena, a woman leader and Community Development Committee (CDC) official, said: “We are typically fishermen in this community. Unfortunately, since the construction work on the refinery started, we have continued to record low fish and snail catch because the fishes have retreated to safer waters. Because of this, we must go further into the Atlantic Ocean to catch anything. It is getting more dangerous to even do so because our boats can no longer withstand the strong waves of the sea.”
Arepo Azeez, a youth leader, said: “Our people are being marginalised by the organisation in terms of employment opportunities in the establishment. The so-called scholarship scheme is nothing but a selective bursary allocation of N50,000 yearly to only beneficiaries from JS2 class upwards and with stringent conditions tied to it. We have not established contact with Dangote as we have no access to the place, so we have no way of lodging our complains.
“Vibrations from the seaport and the refinery are affecting us,” Azeez noted, even as members expressed worry over possible accidental discharges of oil products into the environment over time.