The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has announced the demolition of 750 houses along the path of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway. During a stakeholder meeting in Lagos on Thursday, Umahi stated that if the new alignment is followed, 490 houses would be affected, but adhering to the gazetted alignment requires the demolition of 750 houses. He assured that the alignment remains unchanged, except for a 25-kilometer realignment at Okun Ajah to avoid submarine cables.

Property owners expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation offered, claiming it does not reflect their investments. Umahi disclosed that President Bola Tinubu would flag off the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway on Sunday, May 26, 2024. He emphasized the project’s potential to boost tourism, reduce inflation, and strengthen the naira through external funding.

“The coastal highway will not only benefit Lagos but will also extend through the 700 kilometers of the highway, linking Sokoto to Badagry and connecting Enugu, Abakaliki, Ogoja, down to Cameroon,” Umahi said. This route is part of the trans-Africa trade network, linking Nigeria with other West African countries.

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During a Q&A session, 10 property owners were compensated, but many described the compensation as inadequate. Cajetan Onu, President of Total Energies Staff Cooperative Society, stated that the amount offered did not match their investment, urging for more time to salvage equipment and a fairer compensation evaluation.

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Olanrewaju Ojo, founder of Leisure Games, criticized the N1.3 million compensation as insufficient, equating it to a week’s earnings. Another anonymous business owner received only 1/6 of his submitted claim, and Paul Osemele highlighted the loss of revenue from 20 tenants who had to vacate his property.

In response, Umahi defended the government’s compensation process as fair and consistent, revealing a total of N2.75 billion in compensation allocated to affected property owners from channel 0 to channel 3 of the highway’s construction. He emphasized a compassionate approach towards the residents who voted for the president, ensuring fair compensation.

The initial phase included compensations for 10 property owners: Olaotan Olamuyiwa, Kemi Osinibi, Mide Adegbite, Peter Oladipupo, Bukola Oloko, Abiodun Oguntunde, Dapo Oniru, Mustapha Olatunji, Dr. Bashir Oshodi, and Bestrock. The Federal Controller of Works for Lagos State, Olukorede Kesha, assured that more compensations would follow.

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The 700-kilometer Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, spanning nine states with two spurs to the north, is being constructed with concrete pavement. A committee, including representatives from the ministry, Lagos State, affected communities, and other stakeholders, was established in April to oversee compensation assessments and payments.

The government aims to ensure a transparent and fair process for all affected by the highway’s construction, balancing development needs with the rights and investments of property owners.