Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project Sparks Controversy Over Demolition and Compensation

Despite the government's assurance of following due process, landlords of the affected properties expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation offered, deeming it inadequate compared to their investments

In a significant development regarding the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, announced plans for the demolition of 750 houses along the highway’s path. 

This revelation came during a stakeholders’ meeting held in Lagos, where Umahi outlined the government’s commitment to follow the gazetted alignment for the project.

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Umahi clarified that the demolition plan adheres strictly to the predetermined alignment, with no alterations expected. 

However, to mitigate potential damage to submarine cables, a realignment of 25 kilometers at Okun Ajah area is proposed.

Despite the government’s assurance of following due process, landlords of the affected properties expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation offered, deeming it inadequate compared to their investments. 

During a question and answer session, only ten property owners received compensation, further fueling discontent among residents.

The proposed coastal highway aims to not only enhance transportation infrastructure but also stimulate tourism along the coastline. 

Umahi emphasized the potential economic benefits, highlighting the creation of tourism centers and the anticipated influx of external funding to bolster the project.

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President Bola Tinubu has been invited to inaugurate the highway on May 26, 2024, marking a significant milestone in the project’s progress. However, concerns persist among affected property owners and residents regarding the fairness of compensation and the overall impact on their livelihoods.

Cajetan Onu, President of Total Energies Staff Cooperative Society and Total Energies Staff Club lamented the insufficiency of compensation, particularly citing ongoing developments and investments made by affected parties. 

He appealed for a review of the compensation process to ensure fair remuneration for affected properties.

Similarly, Olanrewaju Ojo, founder of Leisure Games, criticized the compensation amount of N1.3 million, stating that it pales in comparison to his property’s true value. 

Ojo’s sentiments echo the sentiments of many others who feel shortchanged by the government’s compensation scheme.

As tensions rise over the demolition and compensation issues, it is evident that more dialogue and transparent processes are needed to address the concerns of affected stakeholders. 

The Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project holds significant promise for regional development and connectivity, but its success hinges on the equitable treatment of those impacted by its implementation.

The controversy surrounding the project underscores the complex interplay between infrastructure development and the rights of individuals affected by such initiatives. 

As the government forges ahead with its ambitious plans, it must prioritize fairness and inclusivity to ensure that the benefits of progress are shared equitably among all stakeholders.

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