As a forerunner to the planned relocation of activities of Oko-Baba sawmillers to Timberville, Owu-Ikosi, early in 2022, the Lagos State Government has commenced verification exercise for stakeholders and prospective beneficiaries of the purpose-built facility.
Speaking during the flagg-off of the verification exercise at the Ministry’s premises in Alausa on Monday, December 13, 2021, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, stated that the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration was resolute about relocating the sawmillers and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring smooth execution of the initiative.
Salako noted that the verification exercise, being conducted from Monday 12 to Thursday 16, December 2021, was to update the list of stakeholders and ascertain their levels of readiness for the intended movement.
He added that, to facilitate the relocation, government had put in place required basic amenities and the enabling working environment with functional accessibility to the new location as well as adequate power supply and security in and around Timberville operational area.
He restated that the Lagos State Government had embarked on the relocation of the sawmillers to protect the environment and create a more conducive and desirable location for the business activity.
He said: “It is incontrovertible that we have since come to terms with the fact that the present location of your sawmill in the waterfront of Ebute-Metta, popularly called Oko-Baba is no longer sustainable for the business, given the huge environmental cost which is unimaginable and unpardonable at this time and age.”
The Commissioner explained that some of the environmental impacts included water and air pollution, carbon emission, destruction of aquatic resources and creation of blight, among others.
He disclosed that the vision of the state government was to leverage the status of Oko-Baba sawmill as the largest in the country and ultimately turn the Timberville, Agbowa to a major Agriculture Processing Zone and a hub of value addition for timber and construction industry within Ikorodu-Epe sub-region of the state, while leveraging on public private collaboration.
Explaining the strategic plan for the relocation, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Abiola Kosegbe, noted that government had devised a phased implementation plan for the movement of Oko-Baba Operation to Timberville, part of which was the introduction of the strategic documentation of the sawmillers.
She added that the documentation was aimed at achieving seamless movement from Oko-Baba to Timberville through a model that would provide an opportunity for the larger movers sawmillers to be selected in the first instance for immediate allocation of space, including band saw sheds, sales offices and ancillary sheds for displaying of finished wood products.
In their remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Ganiyu Adele Ayuba, and the Special Adviser to the Governor on E-GIS and Physical Planning, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, urged the sawmillers to cooperate with the government throughout the phases of the relocation, particularly the ongoing verification exercise.