Lagos-Calabar Highway: Okun-Ajah Community Accuses Tinubu Govt Of Planning To Demolish 2,000 Houses After ‘Changing Road Alignment To Favour Few Influential Personalities’

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Occupants of over 2,000 homes said to have been marked for demolition in the community also called on lawmakers representing the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), among others, to come to their rescue.

Okun-Ajah community in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State has raised the alarm and lamented the planned demolition of 2,000 homes in the community for the construction of the controversial Lagos-Calabar coastal highway.

In a statement titled ‘Don’t Destroy Over 2,000 Families to Protect Privileged Five’ and jointly signed by Baale of Okun-Ajah Community, Sikiru Olukesi Okanlawon and the Secretary, Balogun Kamorudeen, the community cried out to President Bola Tinubu’s administration and Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State government to rescue it from the alleged illegal variation of the contract route that has put 2,000 homes in the area at risk of imminent demolition.

The community through its traditional ruler, Baale (Alh) Sikiru Olukesi Okanlawon and its secretary Balogun Kamorudeen alleged that “injustice and injury” are about to be inflicted on them by the Ministry of Works.

The homes were marked for demolition in the community where the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, is said to have diverted the road to pass instead of the original route, where “the high-power people acquired land.”

SaharaReporters had reported that the 700-kilometre stretch of road infrastructure, which will span eight years to complete, is estimated to gulp a staggering N15 trillion.

The pilot phase of the construction has started at the Eko Atlantic City and it will terminate at Lekki Deep Seaport, for which N1.06 trillion had reportedly already been released.

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Umahi had said, “It is a highway of 10 lanes, which will cost N4 billion per kilometre, and would be the first of its kind in Africa.”

However, many property owners and communities along the route of the project have accused the Ministry of Works of being unfair.

Occupants of over 2,000 homes said to have been marked for demolition in the community also called on lawmakers representing the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), among others, to come to their rescue.

They also asked the Inspector General of Police not to allow police personnel to be used for the enforcement of the demolition.

The statement read, “The Okun-Ajah Community in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State is calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Governor of Lagos State, the Senator and Member of the House of Representatives and the Member of the House of Assembly of Lagos State, representing the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State to come to the rescue of the Okun-Ajah Community in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State against the injustice and injury about to be inflicted on them by the Federal Minister of Works.

“Sometime in the year 2006, the Okun-Ajah Community was granted a Certificate of Occupancy over their communal land in Okun-Ajah. The Survey Plan attached to the Certificate of Occupancy clearly depicted the portion of the communal land earmarked for the then-proposed coastal road.

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“Knowing full well that that portion of their land had been committed to a federal project, members of the community avoided building on the right of way earmarked for the coastal road.

“The Minister of Works, however, changed the original road alignment because many people had illegally built on the right of way. The second road alignment was much more relatively free from building development as only five houses had been erected on that road alignment while the rest of the route is vacant land.

“Surprisingly, the Minister of Works has again changed the second road alignment because some of the owners of the five buildings and the vacant lands on that road alignment are influential personalities.

“He has now redirected the road alignment to the residential part of Okun-Ajah Community which will lead to the demolition of over 2000 houses including our ancestral homes and our Oba’s palace.

“The pertinent question that we want the Minister of Works to answer to the whole nation is why should the houses of over 2000 people who did not build on the age-long right of way be destroyed because the Minister wants to save five houses and vacant lands? Why?

“The action of the Minister is certainly not in the interest of peace, order, and good government of Nigeria in general and Lagos State in particular as envisaged by sections 4 and 5 of the Constitution of Nigeria.

“This is the reason the Okun-Ajah people are calling on Nigerians to prevail on the Minister to reconsider his proposed action.

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“The Okun-Ajah people are also calling on President Tinubu to urgently investigate the circumstances leading to the jettisoning of the second road alignment which is much more free of building development and the adoption of the third road alignment which will lead to the demolition of over 2000 houses and the Baale’s palace.

“We also call on the Inspector General of Police and the National Security Adviser not to allow men of the Nigeria Police Force to be used to inflict harm on the people of Okun-Ajah because our people are prepared to defend their community against the proposed onslaught of the Minister.”


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