Worried that the Lagos authorities may take over a large chunk of its landed property without adequate compensation, Lekki communities have urged the State government to look elsewhere in attempt to construct the proposed Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge in the metropolis.
They say that other developmental projects, like the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) have robbed them of their land without adequate compensation. For instance, Lamgbasa community where the bridge would commence towards Ikorodu area, landowners are already living in fear of losing more lands to infrastructure development.
The community’s protest is coming on the heels of plans by the state government to commence the 4th Mainland Bridge project next year. The Guardian gathered that the government is searching for a new that would not affect the existing houses and buildings. Although, a new alignment has been discovered, but consultant is yet to be appointed to carry out environmental impact analysis (EIA) of the new corridor.
Specifically, a traditional ruler in Lamgbasa, who wants to remain anonymous complained that while Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ), took a large chunk of land, especially, in places such as Oshoroko, Iwerekun, and others, housing development and sand mining have been robbing them of their property, with little or no compensation paid.
“We only got little compensation under the current administration. Therefore, we have resolved not to allow any development in our areas without a due compensation,” he said.
He said: “There are lots of activities in the recent time by some industries who indicated interest in locating their industries in Lekki axis. While we would have love to embrace the gesture with open arms, what would happen to our children and the yet to be born ones when they grow up? Where are they going to claim as their fathers’ land?”
A group who called itself “Concerned Citizens of Lekki Aborigines”, whose leader, Kamal Ade Oladejo, while he conceded to the fact that infrastructure provision such as another bridge for Lagos “is inevitable’, expressed the fear over a quantum of land size such project would take.
“As a civilized and responsible Lagosians, we would support any government endeavours to make Lagos better. But when it comes to the issue of land, we not hesitate to express our reservations”, he said, adding that government should call the meeting of stakeholders anytime it complete it feasibility studies”.
But contrary to the expressed fears, Lagos officials hinted that among the reasons why the project is yet to commence was the need to put people into confidence.
Besides, it was also learnt that new corridor is not a built-up area unlike the former one. “This would make likelihood of compensation reasonably low”, confirmed a senior official who spoke with The Guardian.
Giving insight to the update on the proposed bridge, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, last week said plans are ongoing on the commencement of the infrastructure. Hamzat, who said he is not aware of anybody or group reacting against the project, said one of the major reasons why the project is delaying is the new development occasioned by new entrants into the area, especially, industries.
According to Hamzat, the 26-kilometre bridge would not commence until proper alignment is developed. “A lot of buildings are being springing up from Lamgbasa en-route Ikorodu and it would not be proper to continuing demolishing the existing properties, because the earlier identified alignment has been taken over by property owners, either legally, or otherwise.
“Besides, in view of many industries that are locating in the axis, government needs to be patient to ensure that a virgin alignment route is prepared. Ministry’s personnel would first work on the new corridor before any consultant would be invited and that would be public. But we have competent personnel. Our engineers are up to task they would do the preliminary works in conjunction with the Ministry for Physical planning and urban development. These include the verification of properties already on ground, soil test of various locations among others,” he said.
Credit: Guardian News