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Lagos-Calabar-Coastal-Road project

24.05.2024 Featured EXPLAINER: As Coastal Road Bends to Original Alignment, Does Landmark Resort Demolition Still Make Sense?

Published 24th May, 2024

By Sodeeq Atanda

Mixed reactions have followed the decision of the federal government to revert to the original right of way for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal road, with several social media users condemning the government for what they believe was the needless demolition of some structures, especially part of the popular Landmark Beach Resort.

FIJ had reported the implications of the demolition of the resort, which accommodated several businesses and was valued at over $200 million. According to CEO Paul Onwuanibe, the business provided over 4,000 direct jobs. Some of the sections of the resort listed for demolition at the time were the Beach Resort, Kids and Bay Arena, Members Area and Lagos Beach Club. The government said the facilities were located within the right of way of the proposed road by 50 metres.

At a meeting between the government and community stakeholders on Thursday, however, David Umahi, the Minister for Works, said the government had decided to revert to the old gazetted plan for the road in favour of historic homes and submarine cables.

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s N15trn Coastal Road Killing the Living and Leaving the Dead Homeless in Ibeju-Lekki

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have our proposal here and we have the old alignment, the gazetted alignment,” Umahi said. “To the glory of God, to solve MTN, 2Africa and Okun Ajah community (complaints), we are diverting completely from the new alignment and we are rejoining back to our new alignment at kilometer 25.”

For context, the Bola Tinubu administration is currently funding the 47-kilometre pilot phase of the 700-kilometre coastal road that will slice through nine costal states. The project has already triggered anxiety, resulting in loss of lives, and made several people homeless.

The latest announcement seems to have brought relief to a few affected people, especially the residents of Okun Ajah community, but regarding whether the demolition of multiple structures, including a portion of the beachfront at Landmark Beach, was unnecessary in the first place and is no longer relevant to the road project, many Nigerians remain perplexed.

HERE IS WHAT THE REVERSION REALLY MEANS

From the minister’s revelation, the reversion to old alignment will only affect kilometres 16 to 25 of the 47 kilometres currently being funded.

This means that kilometres 1 to 15, where Landmark Resort falls, will still progress according to the new alignment. When the construction progresses to kilometres 16 to 25, where the affected undersea cables and ancestral lands are located, the road construction will then reroute to the old alignment.

With this adjustment, the government will be using nine kilometres of the old design and 38 kilometres of the new design to construct the first 47 kilometres sof the coastal highway. Thus, the reversion has not rendered Landmark Resort demolition needless in any way.

FIJ understands that Okun Ajah people have a history of burying their dead traditional leaders, known as Olumegbon, in the community.

READ ALSO: ‘I’ll Smoke and Go Mad’ — How a Frustrated Chef Wants to Handle Landmark Beach Resort Demolition

If the new plans had not been changed, chances are that the bodies of past Olumegbon and other centres of historical importance, might have to be excavated, disturbing the peace of the dead.

As it stands, many more communities will still lose their properties and sources of income as the construction continues.

Meanwhile, tens of properties have been demolished in Magbon, Iberekodo and Eleko communities, among others, and property owners are still uncertain as to when compensation will be paid and how much..

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Published 24th May, 2024

By Sodeeq Atanda

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