The Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, has placed stop-work-order on Apple Island housing project following the resolve of the Nigerian Army Property Company Limited, NAPCL, and Tauraf International Limited, partners and promoters of the new residential estate located beside Banana Island Estate, to undermine all agencies of government at both the federal and state levels. The stop-work-order was given March 18, 2019.
The Nigerian Army Property Company Limited and Tauraf International Limited, may be re-writing all known and existing rules on dredging and reclamation projects as in the proposed Apple Island within the Lagos Lagoon waterways, which requires appropriate technical and stakeholders’ engagement before approval can be given by NIWA, with planned access through the highbrow Banana Island.
NAPCL is embarking on this project with zero-compliance with the extant laws and by-laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Lagos State on the project as it is unravelling and it is becoming one of the biggest impunities to be hibited by a government agency on the people they are to protect and who actually pay the tax from which they are maintained.
Sometime in June 2018, an elaborate arrangement was made by the NAPCL and Tauraf International Limited as directed by its Managing Director, Brigadier Muhammed, and under the Chairmanship of the Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai to officially launch Apple Island on the waters where no land existed. Other partners to the project are Julius Berger and Van Oord.
The property of Banana Island was destroyed in the desperation to demonstrate viability to the Chief of Army Staff, according to residents of Banana Island. “This act of the Nigerian Army, through its agency, put the residents of the estate under serious mental siege as they felt their rights were being trampled upon by a commercial enterprise irrespective of being a commercial off shoot of the Nigerian Army.
Their anger got manifested when General Buratai visited as he was embarrassed by the placard- carrying residents because he was under the assumption that all necessary processes and procedures for creating a new Island were followed. “The Residents’ Association was only soothed by the Chief of Army Staff’s promise to wade in, which he did by setting up a committee to look into the grievances of the Banana Island Residents’ Association’s complaints, of not wanting Banana Island to be an access road into the proposed Apple Island.
This was considered a major security risk apart from other ecological challenges of undermining the superstructure of the Island, accentuating flooding, since Banana Island itself is a sand-filled Island. “The Banana Island Residents and Property Owners Limited not to be taken unawares on this matter decided to approach the Court to press for their rights to peaceful and decent life .
A proposed Island of this nature must pass some basic tests in an enlightened society, and this was expected to go through public hearing to discuss the Environmental Impact Assessment and engage all stakeholders which were never done.
“There is a subsisting case in the Lagos State Law court for which all parties have been served and hearing date has been fixed and known to parties. Continuation of dredging by the NAPCL and its partner could be another attempt to arm-twist the court and would be interesting to see how the court responds as the case unfolds,” the residents’ association said.