• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Coastal Highway: FG’s bulldozer starts work on properties Saturday

Can Nigeria’s coastal highway drive industrialisation, economic transformation?

Barring any last minute’s change of mind, the federal government’s bulldozer will begin the demolition of all structures within the right of way of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, Olukorede Kesha, the federal Controller of Works in Lagos, has announced.

Kesha said the planned demolition will affect all properties within the first three kilometers of the 700-kilometre highway and will be focusing on all structures that have been marked for demolition and the owners had been served notice to that effect.

She, therefore, called on all property owners who received demolition notices and have concerns to visit the secretariat of the Federal Ministry of Works from Thursday, April 25, until 3pm on Friday, April 26, to discuss their concerns.

Read also: Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway bid didn’t follow due process, advise FG to halt it — Doherty tells AGF

Depending on what transpires between the ministry and the property owners, many businesses will cease to be as from Saturday, April 27, including the sprawling $200 million Landmark Beach Resort which harbours about 80 different businesses with over 3,000 workers.

Paul Onwuanibe, the Group CEO of Landmark Group, owners of the Beach Resort, told BusinessDay on phone Thursday night that since they are located within the first 1,5 kilometre of the highway, they will be going to see them at the secretariat as requested.

Landmark Beach Resort is just one of the many businesses on the Coastal Highway’s right of way. It is hoped that the government’s invitation to those of them that have concerns will yield positive result by preserving investments and saving jobs. Other properties affected too are residential communities where some residents claim to be living in their ancestral homes.

Read also: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway: Doherty tells Lagos to seek alternatives to demolition of Landmark, others

But the controller assured, “we are welcoming them from today (Thursday) until tomorrow (Friday). Whatever you have to do along that axis, and we’ve come to you and marked you down for demolition, we are asking that you see us at the secretariat from today until tomorrow evening.

Thereafter, the demolition squad will move to action by Saturday morning for the first three kilometres. For the first three kilometres, anything within the right of way of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway will be dropped down from Saturday morning.”

Kesha who addressed a press conference to that effect on Thursday said government was reaching out to as many as they cannot put calls across to through the conference, hoping that it will go a long way to let them know that their issues will be sorted out between Thursday and Friday.

Read also: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway to cost N4bn per kilometre not N8bn – Umahi confirms

This exercise, she stressed, affects those properties within zero to three kilometres of the projects and have been marked, meaning that such properties have been identified as standing in the right of way of the project corridors.

The Coastal Highway has been a subject of controversy since David Umahi, the minister of works, announced the commencement of construction work on it. It is 700-kilometre highway that will begin in Lagos and end in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Each kilometer of the highway which will pass through nine coastal states including Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom, will cost the federal government N4 billion to construct, which brings the total construction cost of the project to N15 trillion. Many Nigerians have argued that the project is too expensive at that cost.