The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has disclosed that his administration would not allow the Tongeji Island, an island that shares boundary with the Republic of Benin to be taken away, saying that his administration would do all in its power to make life meaningful for the citizens of the state residing on the island.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun stated this when he received in his office, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Ambassador Emmanuel Kayode Oguntuase, accompanied by the Flag Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, adding that his administration would immediately set up a team to visit the Island, with a view to assure the people of the area that they have not being forgotten.
Governor Abiodun said his team identified Tongeji Island and Ogun Waterside as core areas with abundant oil and gas deposit during the electioneering campaigns, adding that his administration had intimated relevant Federal government agencies on the need for exploration under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The Governor who decried poor conditions in the nation’s border towns, said the long neglect of the Island, was a reflection of what was obtainable in border towns across the country, adding that the numerous challenges facing the nation might have contributed to the neglect of the border towns.
He said the National Border Commission would be informed of the Ambassador’s findings on the need to prevent it from being taken over by the neighbouring country, saying the state government would explore economic and social ties as well as other ways to strengthen areas of collaboration with them.
The governor while thanking the Ambassador for bringing the issue to the notice of the State government said he would engage the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission (DAWN) and also involve Lagos and Oyo State governors, as they equally share border towns with the Republic of Benin.
“I want to thank you for bringing this to our attention, no one could have better done that than you being the Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, I will also take this up formally with the National Border Commission. The Federal Ministry of Petroleum will also be informed of the Island’s huge interest to the government’’, he said.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador Oguntuase said his visit was to draw Government’s attention to the plight of over 1000 Nigerians inhabitants in the Island, who are in urgent need of basic amenities.
He said there was great pressure on the inhabitants of the Island to renounce their Nigeria citizenship, adding that the availability of oil and other valuable mineral resources was an attraction to the neighbouring country.
Ambassador Oguntuase stressed the need for States sharing border with Benin Republic to utilize the vast forest reserves bordering the country to prevent terrorists from Mali and Burkina Fasso, using them as training camps to carry out attacks on Nigerians.
On the entourage were the Consular Officer, Mrs. Olubunmi Olanusi, Commandant, Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Abeokuta, Commandant Dauda and the Deputy Defence Attache, Commandant Tony Bassey.