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Experts seek Lagos Island’s Isale Eko revitalisation

By Victor Gbonegun
03 January 2022   |   3:34 am
Stakeholders have called for the environmental and social-economic transformation of Isale Eko community in Central Lagos.

• As govt gets date for sawmillers relocation
Stakeholders have called for the environmental and social-economic transformation of Isale Eko community in Central Lagos.

They advised the Isale Eko Descendants Union (IDU) to work with other associations in Lagos Island on the upgrade and regeneration being promoted by the state government under the Lagos Island Model City Plan.

According to them, the preservation of ancestral, historical and cultural places in Isale Eko should be crucial in the discussion, while urgent measures must be taken to rehabilitate Jankara axis, a grossly dilapidated part of Isale Eko.

The professionals also said there was the need to preserve existing public spaces in the community as these are going into extinction.

Leading the call at the 2021-Isale-Eko Day symposium tagged, ‘Urban Regeneration of Isale Eko – the way forward,’ held at Alliance Francaise, Ikoyi, the former Minister of Works, Femi Okunnu, urged government to incorporate in the revitalisation of Adele Adeniji road to Isale Eko and Ebute-Ero axis.

Okunnu, who is the President, Board of Trustees, IDU, said in re-planning the area, the government should create play areas, especially football pitch for the youths, who are unemployed to engage them in a positive way.

The General Manager, Lagos State Urban Renewal Agency (LASURA), Faidat Shomade, said Isale Eko is known for several historical landmarks and as a centre of commerce in Nigeria; hence the revamping of the areas must be addressed based on individual merits.

The Project Director, Arctic Infrastructure, Mr. Lookman Oshodi, who traced the history of the area, said it started as swamp with densely populated community, a farm settlement/home with people, who were mainly fishermen, traders and pedestrians.

Oshodi pointed out that the growth of Isale Eko was spurred by six key sectors, which are water, settlements, transportation, commerce, tourism, food and agriculture.

He said the upgrade of the community will bring better coordinated development, priority for safety and security, focus on economic empowerment and utilisation of water.

MEANWHILE, the state authorities has reaffirmed its commitment towards relocation of the Oko-Baba sawmillers from Ebute Meta to the new location in Agbowa-Ikosi.

The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, while giving clarification on the issue, said government embarked on the relocation of sawmillers from Okobaba in Ebute Meta to Agbowa-Ikosi in 2012 to create a more conducive and desirable location for the operations of the sawmillers.

According to him, Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration has prioritised the completion of Agbowa-Ikosi Timberville by the first quarter of 2022 and facilitate the relocation, as government is providing housing accommodation for those affected.

He said: “The vision of government is to turn Agbowa-Ikosi Timberville to a major agriculture processing zone and a hub for timber and construction industry within Ikorodu-Epe sub-region of the state.”

Accordingly, he said the phased implementation of the movement of Okobaba operation to Timberville has commenced with the validation of Oko-Baba sawmillers.

The government has also disclosed plans to embark on a comprehensive regeneration of the old site through LASURA.