• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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It is an insult to call our ancestral villages shanties, Coastline communities tell Umahi

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Communities located along the right of way of the ongoing Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway have knocked David Umahi, the minister for works, for referring to their ancestral villages as shanties because skyscrapers weren’t built there.

Oladotun Kazeem, a lawyer, spoke on behalf of the communities during an interview on Arise News on Tuesday, noted that the villages called shanties are graveyards of some people’s ancestors.

The ongoing Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project has generated a lot of controversy, particularly the demolition of businesses and communities situated along the shoreline.

At a press briefing recently, Umahi said ₦2.1 billion will be paid as compensation to the demolished buildings with the right documents. The minister, however, said that shanties located along the shoreline will not be compensated.

Speaking on Arise News, Kazeem said it is an insult for the minister to refer to some people’s ancestral homes as shanties because he was looking at them from the helicopter.

“Where the minister is calling shanties are graveyards of ancestors of some people. And I believe that the minister is also from a village in Ebonyi State; he cannot allow his ancestral village to be wiped out as a result of a statement calling them shanties.

“That’s even an insult, in Yorubaland, you cannot call a community a shanties just because you are watching from the helicopter and you believe those buildings so far they are not skyscrapers; they also have the same rights as those that built skyscrapers,” the lawyer said.

Kazeem said that the government formed a reconciliation committee to address the issue but the major stakeholders, like the traditional rulers of the affected communities, were not involved.

He noted that the government is communicating, but it is one-sided; the government pushes out what it want the people to hear.

Kazeem said the government must have a communal discussion with the affected communities in order to have a win-win solution.

Instead of demolishing the communities, the lawyer argued that the government can reclaim the ocean surge to make way for the project.