Local

Lagos-Calabar Coastal Line: Outrage As FG Plans To Demolish 750 Houses

The Federal Government has announced plans to demolish 750 houses to pave the way for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

Naija News reports that the Minister of Works, David Umahi, disclosed this during a stakeholders meeting in Lagos on Thursday.

Addressing the meeting, Umahi stated, “If we go by the new alignment, 490 houses would be demolished. However, following the gazetted alignment, 750 houses would be demolished.

“There is no change of alignment; we are following the gazetted alignment. There would, however, be realignment at Okun Ajah area by 25 kilometres to avoid damaging submarine cables.”

The announcement has sparked discontent among property owners who claim that the government’s compensation offers are inadequate.

Umahi revealed that President Bola Tinubu has been invited to flag off the highway project on Sunday, May 26, 2024.

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been invited to flag off the coastal highway on Sunday,” he said, emphasizing the project’s potential to boost tourism.

“The new corridor will feature befitting tourism centres, and land will be made available by the relevant department of government, allowing Nigerians to leverage these opportunities. When external funding comes, it will reduce our inflation and strengthen the naira,” Umahi added.

The minister highlighted that the coastal highway would benefit not just Lagos but other regions as well.

“This is not just going to be in Lagos alone, but all through the 700 kilometres of the coastal highway. We intend to link this road from Sokoto to Badagry, and another spur will connect a road from Enugu, Abakaliki, and Ogoja down to Cameroon. This is called the trans-Africa trade route,” he explained.

However, during a Q&A session, several property owners expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s compensation offer.

Cajetan Onu, President of Total Energies Staff Cooperative Society, described the compensation as insufficient compared to the investment in their properties.

“As I speak now, we have a bulldozer on our fence. We are not against the project; we are requesting more time to recover our equipment and fair compensation,” Onu appealed.

Olanrewaju Ojo, founder of Leisure Games, received N1.3m as compensation, which he deemed inadequate. “This is ridiculous! What am I supposed to do with this? I will make this in a week,” he told Punch newspaper.

Another property owner, who requested anonymity, said the compensation offered was only one-sixth of what was submitted.

“Obviously, it is not up to what we invested in this business. I am having mixed feelings now and do not know what to do,” he lamented.

In response to the complaints, Umahi asserted that the government was impartial in its compensation process.

“On the issue of compensation, the government is impartial. What we have done for others is what we have done for this place as well,” he stated.

Umahi previously announced N2.75bn in compensation to property owners affected by the demolition necessary for the highway construction.

“To show sympathy for people who voted for Mr President, we will do everything possible to pay the human face compensation. Today, we are paying over N2bn in compensation just from channel 0 to channel 3,” he disclosed during the stakeholders meeting.

The first phase of compensation included 10 property owners, among them Olaotan Olamuyiwa of Checkmate and Kemi Osinibi of Landmark Kids Club by Maxtivity. The Federal Controller of Works for Lagos State, Olukorede Kesha, noted that these were the first to be compensated, with others to follow.

The 700-kilometer Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway began in March and will span nine states with spurs to the northern states. Umahi mentioned that the road would be built using concrete pavement.

In April, the government established a committee to review, assess, and compensate landowners affected by the construction.

The committee includes members from the ministry, Lagos State, affected communities, and other stakeholders, responsible for verifying claimants’ eligibility and determining compensation amounts.

Back to top button