• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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FG diverts Lagos Calabar Highway realignment over submarine cables concerns

By Abubakar Ibrahim

Mounting concerns over submarine cables along the coastline which, according to stakeholders, is a matter of national security, has compelled the federal government to re-route and divert, at some point, the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway realignment.

David Umahi, Minister of Works, made this known on Thursday at the 3rd Stakeholders Meeting in Lagos, where he confirmed that the FG is diverting completely from the Okun-Ajah community in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos.

“To solve MTN… Okun-Ajah community problem, we are diverting completely from the new alignment,” he said. “And we are rejoining back to our new alignment at kilometre 25.”

Read also: Lagos-Calabar coastal highway should start from both ends Calabar chiefs

Reacting to the new development, members of the Okun-Ajah community expressed their gratitude towards the Tinubu administration for choosing not to use the proposed route.

Earlier in the week, telecommunication (telcos) operators called on the FG to engage with them for proper mapping and relocation of the submarine cables that were laid beneath the earth’s surface at the Lagos axis of the proposed Lagos-Calabar coastal road.

According to them, several submarine cables like SAT-3, MainOne, Glo 1, WACS, and ACE, which came from Europe, covering thousands of kilometres, with landing stations in Lagos, are likely to be damaged if they are not re-routed before the commencement of construction work on the proposed Lagos-Calabar coastal road.

Meanwhile, Umahi said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would not be available at this time, referencing Section 15 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act to justify the government’s decision to withhold certain information from the media and public.

The section Umahi referred to pertains to third-party information, which permits government institutions to deny access to information requested by journalists or the public.

The Lagos-Calabar coastal road, an ambitious and economically viable project, has been a subject of controversy over issues of cost of the project which some Nigerians say is the most expensive of President BolaTinubu’s administrations so far.

Reade also: Reps probe Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway procurement process

There is also the issue of environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for the project which has not been approved and therefore not ready, but the project has commenced. Umahi has disclosed however that the project has preliminary ESIA approval which enabled them to start the project.

The federal ministry of environment, which issues ESIA for projects, has also confirmed that they have given preliminary approval for the project’s EIA. Therefore, whatever issues concerned members of the public have over the ESIA has been rested by Section 15 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act which Umahi cited at the stakeholders meeting.

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