Coastal Highway: Don’t spare law breakers at our expenses - Residents Tell Tinubu, Umahi


Lagos-Calabar coastal road project

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Some residents of Okun Ajah in the Eti Osa Local Government area of Lagos State have cried out over an alleged ethnic bais and favouritism in the planned re-routing of the Lagos Calabar Coastal Highway in the community urging the government not to spare law breakers at their expense.

The residents who spoke on the issue, expressed serious concerns that some rich property owners from a certain region of the country who had clearly encroached on the coastal road masterplan have induced some top government officials to ensure that the re-routing plan does not affect them.

They appealed to President Bola Tinubu to urgently come to their aid saying that law abiding property owners with proper titles outside of the coastal road route are now at the mercy of having their properties demolished.

One of the residents, Bola Akingbade said: “We are really worried about what is going on here in Okun Ajah. Many of the land owners here avoided the coastal road areas and have since perfected their titles with the Lagos state government. We knew that a day will come when the government will decide to reactivate the coastal road masterplan , so we clearly avoided that axis.

“Unfortunately, those that deliberately purchased and built their properties along the coastal road are now making a mockery of us because some unscrupulous government officials have collected huge bribes from them to ensure that their houses are not affected by the ongoing demolition exercise of illegal structures on the coastal roads.”

Condemning what he described as a daring act of impunity, another resident, David Abiola said that the government must not allow the corruption going on with the rerouting plan to stand as it will further encourage others to flaunt government directives.

He said “We are trying to let the government know that when they set rules, people who flaut them should be punished. By not punishing these law breakers, who knowingly built their houses on prohibited areas, government will be setting a bad precedent. Those of us who avoided the coastal road areas have now become a laughing stock because some corrupt officials have collected money from rich individuals mostly from certain part of the country.

“We are appealing to President Bola Tinubu and the Minister of Works, David Umahi to ensure that this allegation is thoroughly investigated and those found culpable punished. We are also appealing to them to ensure that the rerouting of the Lagos Calabar Coastal Highway in the community is in concordance with the 2006 gazetted alignment.”

An indigene of the town, Yussuf Odunuga said, “Since we got the excision for this village in 2006 under the then Governor Bola Tinubu, now President of Nigeria, there was an alignment for Coastal road and it was gazetted. Everybody in the town knows that there is a Coastal road alignment but some people went ahead to build on some parts of the alignment thinking that government will not come and construct the road in future.”

The indigene also maintained that; “Now that it is the time for the construction of the road, the minister is trying to divert the road from the houses of those who built on the alignment at the expense of those who adhered to the alignment.

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“It is really unjust and confusing. Those who are affected now have the valid documents from the government, while those who built on the coastal road do not,” Odunuga said.

Kazeem Shittu, a member of the Baale in Council of Okun Ajah, also called on the minister to revert to the alignment of the coastal road to douse the tension in the town.

He appreciated the president and the minister for their efforts on the coastal road but urged them to maintain the 2006 alignment

Kazeem said: “Reverting to the coastal road alignment of 2006 will engender peace and unity in the community. The Minister of Work should go back to the gazetted alignment of the Coastal road in our community.”

Also, the Akogun on Okun Ajah, Saeed Olukosi, also appealed to the Minister of Works to return to the gazetted alignment, noting that rerouting the road is like punishing those who observed and followed the law to favour law breaker.

Olukosi said: “We were there when President Tinubu came to flag off the road and we were all happy with the way it was. And now the minister is changing the route in Okun Ajah.

“Before now ,we have had a stakeholders ‘meeting at Eko Hotel ,where it was agreed that the road will follow the gazetted alignment but we are but what the minister is saying is not clear to us.”

He appealed that; “There have already been compensation plan for those who are affected on the coastal road alignment, the minister should adhere to the alignment and not create new victims.”

A property owner, Ajigbotosho Oluwasegun said “I have been living here for many years and did the necessary confirmation about the coastal road before building my house.

“I want to appeal to the minister to follow due process and let the road align with the gazetted portion in Okun Ajah. Those who built on the coastal road cannot be pampered at the expense of those of us who are law abiding.”

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