The Managing Director of Tarzan Marine Enterprises, Mr. Ganiyu Balogun has accused the Lagos State Government through the state’s waterway authority of attempting to put the company’s N5 billion investments in jeopardy.
Balogun, who spoke in Lagos accused the Lagos State Waterway Authority (LASWA) of persistent victimisation and harassment despite fulfilling all the agreed terms before commencing ferry services in the state in 2004.
Balogun alleged that LASWA officials without recourse to the existing agreement of 25 years with the state government gave the company 24 hours’ notice to seize operations or risk eviction sometime last month.
Balogun whose company provides water transportation to Badore, Ijede, Oke Ira Nla and Ibeshe inhabitants all within the state, stressed that his company paid all the agreed financial terms to the government before commencement of operations and wondered why the same government would threaten to evict the company even when it has not violated any part of the agreement reached.
He decried that if agreements duly signed by representatives of governments and private investors are continually upturned and disregarded by new governments, it would put Public Private Participation, PPP, at risk not just in the state, but in the country at large.
He insisted that cancellation of agreements by new governments without following the rule of law would scare away potential investors in the country, noting that his company had been investigated by the government in the past three years, but was not found wanting.
He appealed to the State Government, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to intervene in the matter and prevent his investments from total collapse due to the eviction notice.
He said, “The State literally encouraged and begged me to help revive Badore, Ijede and several abandoned jetties in order to give rural people who travel over six hours by road to get to Victoria Island and other parts of the city; a window of movement to civilization without stress. The state didn’t support me with any money and even when they called in the financial institutions to invest in the project, they all said they were not interested.
“About three years ago, LASWA invited me to explain certain supposed grey areas on the lease agreement. In fact, the directive of former governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola was to investigate and if found guilty, prosecute me for using state infrastructure without payment and due diligence, but I was not found wanting. However, I am surprised that the same agency that didn’t find me wanting some few years ago could send notice of eviction without recourse to the agreement we have.”
Balogun however said that the company had resolved to challenge the eviction notice in the court to determine if the directive of the state was justified, declaring that the eviction notice indicated that he state government had no regards to its claim as an investment destination .