FG stops Lagos-Calabar coastal road realignment, gives reason

In a significant move, the federal government, FG, has decided to halt and divert the realignment of the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project.

This decision aims to preserve critical telecommunications infrastructure, including submarine cables, in the affected areas.

Acting on a presidential directive, MTN’s submarine cables, telco facilities, and other workstations along the Okun-Ajah community axis will be spared from demolition. This comes after a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) evaluated the potential effects of the project on local infrastructure and business operations.

David Umahi, the Minister of Works, announced this decision during a stakeholder meeting in Lagos. The meeting, which focused on compensation and the EIA for the coastal road project, included participation from community groups and traditional institutions, particularly from the Okun-Ajah community.

The Okun-Ajah community had previously raised concerns about the proposed realignment of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, warning both federal and Lagos State governments of the risks it posed. The community argued that the realignment threatened six villages with demolition and risked displacing three traditional kings.

Minister Umahi emphasized the importance of redesigning the road to protect the 600-year heritage of the Okun-Ajah community. He noted that the president’s decision to modify the project plan was driven by a desire to preserve properties and infrastructure in the Okun-Ajah axis. He praised the president’s efforts to divert the route and prevent the demolition of indigenous communities.

Umahi highlighted that the initial alignment would have required the demolition of over 750 houses. However, after a thorough assessment, the new alignment would reduce this number to 450 houses. He assured that the project had undergone proper certification and approval processes, including consideration by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

The minister stressed that property removal would adhere to the rule of law, ensuring that only owners with valid titles would receive compensation.

Iliyasu Abdullah, Group CEO of Machine and Equipment Consortiums Africa, noted that three critical infrastructure components in the Okun-Ajah community had been in place for 17 years. These include submarine cables and workstations vital for the internet gateway. Abdullah commended the federal government for its efforts to protect major national infrastructure.

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