Lagos State government has begun verification exercise for stakeholders and prospective beneficiaries toward relocating Oko-Baba Saw millers to purpose-built facility, Timberville, Owu in Ikosi early in 2022.
Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, who spoke at the forum, stated that the government was resolute about relocating the saw millers and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring smooth execution of the initiative.
The verification exercise, which is to assist the government in updating the list of stakeholders and ascertain their readiness for the planned movement started on Monday and would end on Thursday 16, December 2021.
Salako said the verification exercise is designed to update the list of stakeholders and ascertain their levels of readiness for the intended movement.
He added that to facilitate the move, the 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 the Timberville operational area.
According to him, the government embarked on the relocation of the saw millers to protect the environment and create a more conducive and desirable location for the business activity.
“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 Okobaba is no longer sustainable for the business, given the huge environmental cost which is unimaginable and unpardonable at this time and age,” he said.
Salako noted that some of the environmental impacts include water and air pollution, carbon emission, destruction of aquatic resources and creation of blight and others.
The Commissioner further 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 public private collaboration.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Abiola Kosegbe noted that the Government had devised a phased implementation plan for the movement of Oko-baba operation to Timberville, part of which was the introduction of strategic documentation of the sawmillers.
She added that the documentation was aimed at achieving seamless movement from Okobaba to Timberville through a model that would provide an opportunity for the larger 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.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Ganiyu Adele Ayuba and Special Adviser to the Governor on E-GIS and Physical Planning, Dr. Olajide Babatunde urged the saw millers to cooperate with the government throughout phases of the relocation, particularly the ongoing verification exercise.