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Federal Government Initiates Compensation Review for Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway

Committee Tasked with Landowner Compensation Review

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In a bid to expedite the construction of the N15 trillion Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, the Federal Government has inaugurated a compensation verification committee charged with the responsibility of assessing and compensating landowners affected by the project.

The Minister of Works, David Umahi, who inaugurated the panel, directed them to complete all verification processes within 10 days, ending April 28, signaling a swift approach to the remuneration process.

This move is part of the government’s efforts to accelerate the construction of the project, poised to revolutionize the country’s infrastructure landscape.

Umahi stated that verified claims would be settled within 72 hours by the contractor, Hitech Construction Limited, but refrained from disclosing the total amount allocated for the compensation exercise.

The ambitious 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project has drawn public scrutiny, with concerns raised by affected stakeholders and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar regarding the cost, bidding procedures, and procurement processes.

Designed to link Lagos to Cross River, traversing coastal states including Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom before reaching Cross River, the project is estimated to cost over N4 billion per kilometer.

While inaugurating the committee at the ministry headquarters in Abuja, Umahi emphasized the administration’s commitment to transparency, aligning with the agenda set by President Bola Tinubu.

However, he cautioned that only property owners with verified titles would receive compensation. Umahi clarified that shanties and properties within the 250m shoreline setback without federal government titles would not be compensated due to legal constraints.

The committee’s mandate includes engaging with affected property owners, assessing compensation details, and potentially conducting site visits for thorough evaluation. Umahi stressed that the federal compensation rate would be used, disregarding any lower figures proposed by the Lagos State government.

Umahi stated, “We are committed to transparency, and that is why we are inaugurating this committee today. We have had our alignment on both sections of phase one of the coastal road. Hence the need to set up a review committee to look at the work done by the environmental assessment team.”

He further clarified, “I know very well that no amount given will satisfy those affected, but we are bound by the law. So, we are using the federal rate, which is higher than Lagos State’s compensation rate. The moment the property owners sign, after filing necessary documents and bank accounts, within 72 hours, we will authorize payment.”

The minister emphasized that the committee would verify dimensions and make calculations based on the area and volume. He reiterated the importance of adhering to legal protocols, particularly concerning property titles within the federal government’s jurisdiction.

Umahi concluded by affirming the government’s commitment to following due process and legal frameworks in compensating affected landowners along the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

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