The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has said, the Tongeji Island is part of Nigeria and that the Republic of Benin is not claiming the oil-rich enclave.
Abiodun stated this when he received Rear Admiral Mustapha Bala Hassan, the Flag Officer Commanding of the Nigerian Navy’s Western Naval Command, during a courtesy visit to his Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, office.
The governor claims that the island and its inhabitants have always been a part of Ogun State and have no ties to any other country .
“Tongeji Island is an area that has been under our radar. Sadly, I have not been able to visit. I have slated to visit several times. The former Chief of Naval Staff at a point in time wanted us to go with the former Flag Officer Commanding, but something happened that day, and we could not go.
“I raised the matter with the President of Benin Republic the two times I met him to let him know that Tongeji Island is a no-go area for them and he accepted that, contrary to what people are speculating. They are not contesting the island with us.
“I agree that we mark that area with our presence by providing services for the people. Regarding the jetty that you mentioned, I will tell our Ministry of Works team to go there and take a look so that we can put a cost implication to that. You mentioned the issues of power, water supply, and a primary health care centre; those ones, we can immediately swing into action when we go there.
“If we are claiming that it is our territory, they must see us providing some services for our people and this has been brought to the fore a few times that our people there are complaining that we are not looking after them. We will immediately begin to provide them with those services,” Abiodun said.
The settlements in the vicinity could only be reached by boat, thus the Nigerian Navy’s presence would be greatly appreciated, he continued.
“We have the Ogun State Port on the drawing board in the Olokola area, and that is basically a Navy responsibility. We will be making the announcement very soon because it has been in the pipeline for so many years.
“A lot is going to happen along that corridor that requires heavy Navy presence. The Federal Government is reactivating a multi-billion dollar initiative which is going to be a big responsibility on the part of the Navy because it is going to sit on the territorial waters around Ogun Waterside,” the governor added.
Earlier, Rear Admiral Hassan, the 44th Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, emphasized the importance of Ogun State capitalizing on Tongeji Island to join the league of oil-producing states.