FG begins demolition of Landmark Beach for coastal road project

THE federal government of Nigeria has begun demolishing structures on the right-of-way of the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project.

The coastal road is designed to connect Lagos to Cross River, passing through Ogun, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Akwa Ibom.

On Saturday, April 27, the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, flagged off the demolition exercise at the Mani Chula Beach, Oniru Waterfront, a section of the Landmark Beach.

He said the beach was within the coastal corridor and legitimately in the federal government’s right-of-way, hinting that owners of affected structures along the coastal highway would be compensated.

According to Umahi, the 700-kilometre Lagos-Calabar coastal road construction would cost N15 trillion, as each kilometre of the road would cost N4 billion.

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Although some Nigerians opposed the project, he said the highway was necessary for the country’s economic development.

The ICIR reports that the project has been criticised by concerned Nigerians, including the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, who described it as a misplaced priority and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who labelled it a fraud.

In a statement, Obi said, “We must allocate resources towards repairing and completing existing infrastructure, crucial for the well-being and safety of our society, before embarking on new projects, no matter their perceived benefits.

“Let’s prioritise the urgent needs of our people and ensure that our investments serve the collective good of the nation. In any development formula, the primary focus should be on completing and rehabilitating existing infrastructure rather than embarking on colossal new projects that may never reach completion within the next 30 years.”

In an interview with CNN, the proprietor of Landmark Beach Resort, Paul Onwuanibe, said he received a notice to vacate his multimillion-dollar beach resort within seven days in late March due to the impending demolition.

He estimated that the property worth over $200 million, accommodated more than 80 businesses, sustained over 4,000 direct jobs, and contributed more than N2 billion in taxes yearly.

Onwuanibe noted that he purchased the land in 2007, well before the coastal highway plans were formulated, and was left with mixed feelings after receiving the demolition notice.



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    According to him, his company had spent between $80 and $90 million developing the ecosystem, one-third of which was spent on the beach, for which it was still paying loans.

    While the planned coastal project would connect vital regions of the country, Onwuanibe feared it would come at a steep cost for tourism in Lagos and threaten foreign direct investment into the country if Landmark Beach was eventually torn down.

    “People who bring in money to make cities like this effective will be very concerned (with the proposed demolition of the beach resort). It will pose a huge threat to inward investment into the state and, most importantly, pose a threat to people who are already in the state trying to do things.

    “I have had widespread panic calls from my international and local investors as well as local debt providers threatening to pull the plug as they think this is material to our survival as a business,” he lamented.

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