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FG to pay N15 trillion compensation to property owners on Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway

Minister Umahi Confirms Compensation Plan Amidst Controversy over Project Costs

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In a bid to address concerns and facilitate progress on the 700km Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project, the Federal Government has announced plans to compensate property owners along the highway’s path across nine states. Minister of Works, David Umahi, confirmed President Bola Tinubu’s approval of the compensation and outlined the necessary requirements for eligibility.

Umahi clarified that the construction of the highway, estimated to cost N15.36 trillion or N4.39 billion per kilometer, would span eight years. The project aims to connect Lagos to Cross River, traversing coastal states and culminating in Cross River.

During a stakeholders meeting in Lagos, Umahi emphasized that compensation would be provided only to deserving individuals based on approved documents, with an environmental impact assessment valuation determining the extent of compensation. However, shanties and illegal buildings will not be compensated.

Umahi reassured affected residents that the government is mindful of prevailing hardships and expressed the President’s directive to implement a compensation plan accordingly. Despite uncertainties regarding the number of affected properties, Umahi affirmed the project’s commitment to removing illegal structures and prioritizing solid properties.

The minister also addressed misconceptions about the project’s procurement process, emphasizing that it was awarded on a counter-funding basis, not as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). He clarified that negotiations are ongoing for counterpart funding between 15 and 30 percent.

Phase one of the project, stretching 47.47km from Lagos, has been awarded to Hitech Construction Company Limited. Umahi defended the project’s estimated cost, attributing it to the use of concrete pavement and emphasizing the government’s prudence and cost-effective measures.

Umahi’s statements come amidst debates over the project’s costs and investment value. While the Nigerian Society of Engineers supported the project, urging focus on its potential benefits, Umahi defended the project’s cost, highlighting the challenges of sand filling and affirming the government’s commitment to prudent spending.

Despite discrepancies in estimated costs, Umahi’s reassurances underscore the government’s determination to address concerns, facilitate compensation for affected residents, and ensure transparency and accountability in the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project.

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