The Government says it only rented a portion of the land to the Lagos State.
The Ogun government explained that the expanse of land was allocated for agricultural purpose to fast track development in the area and it only rented a portion of the land to the Lagos State Government.
It also said it is a pilot scheme which it plans to replicate in all the three senatorial districts of the State.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ronke Sokefun, who made the clarification in Abeokuta at a meeting with stakeholders from the area, explained that the decision was part of the current administration’s strategy to ensure that development reaches every nook and cranny of the State.
Ms. Sokefun disclosed that the land in question had long been acquired for agricultural purposes by past administrations in the State, adding that the current government only gave the Lagos State Government a fraction of the total it requested for and that like in every lease agreement, there is a period for which Lagos State would operate on it.
“The land had long been acquired for agricultural purpose by past administrations in the state. There was a strategic reasoning behind our allocating part of it to Lagos State for rice planting. We only gave them one-tenth of what they requested for,” Ms. Sokefun said.
On the derivable economic benefit, the commissioner assured that the terms of agreement are unambiguous as the parties had agreed that rent would be paid to Ogun State Government and that indigenes would be employed in the programme.
“Part of the agreements we entered into was that they will not use the land for any other purpose other than cultivation of rice and that indigenes of the community must be considered first for engagement on the farmland. This is a pilot scheme,” the commissioner said.
Ms. Sokefun, who lamented the inability of past administrations to take advantage of its proximity to Lagos, said that “the current administration will take that advantage to the fullest.