South Energx: Realignment of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road Consumes Eko Atlantic Land, N87bn Lost

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South Energx: Realignment of Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road Consumes Eko Atlantic Land, N87bn Lost

CHIGOZIE AMADI

South Energyx Nigeria Ltd., owner of the Eko Atlantic City in Lagos, is bemoaning the loss of about N87 billion, an estimated cost of the reclamation/sand filling it did, to the realignment of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road.

According to the Assistant Public Relations Officer of South Energyx, Mr Larry Akanbi, there are two issues at stake- the land they reclaimed that the coastal road will now pass through, and the rift between them and the owner of Landmark Beach, who they said, believes the Eko Atlantic City reclamation would eventually turn their beach to dry ground, thus dressing them in the cloak of aggressors in the eyes of the public.

Akanbi said, “We need to put the records straight that we are the victims here and not the aggressors, as we are made to look like.”

The federal government, he said, shifted the right of way (ROW) of the coastal road, bending it into the land reclaimed by them to save some valuable structures at the Landmark Centre.”

He said the Water Corporation Road was truly the original alignment they wanted to use but if they start from this end, by the time they get to where Queens Event Center is now, the event of demolition would be more massive than what they have now.

“They now said okay, there would be less demolition. In fact, there is hardly any serious demolition right now in the sense that what has happened really is not like any of the structure of Landmark is affected; what has been consumed is the beach.

“Now, our position is that, you did not even own the beach, where you are using today, as the beach is part of our land -Eko Atlantic city – and that ideally you should be paying us money but we have not asked you for any money because we were not in need of the land then.”

“Now, what the federal government has even done is to save some of the structures because they said that if they go by their own original alignment, it will consume part of the event center and the Mall. What this means is that Eko Atlantic city itself will suffer loss of land because the coastal road now enters into the land of Eko Atlantic City.

“You know two parties are involved now, there is the federal government’s coastal road, there’s is Eko Atlantic City by the South Energyx, and because they shifted the ROW, the road now enters into our Eko Atlantic city, meaning that we are losing N87 billion for all the land that we reclaimed here that the road will now have to pass through.

“Again, another point that should be validly made is that you have a beach but even without the coastal road, by the time the Eko Atlantic City sand fills, and reclamation gets to that place, there would be no beach again. So, whether you like it or not, now or in the near future, that beach will not be there again.

“It is only unfortunate that now the coastal road has come quickly to consume the beach. However, because of the way we are reclaiming the city itself, it will still get to you and there will be no beach for you. But our original deposition was that we will be able to get to work round it and there will be a win-win situation.

“For example, eventually when we finish the Eko Atlantic City, even right now if you have entered it, you will see that there is still a beach inside. We will say, okay, let’s concession it, you can be using it, but we now saw that rather than him (Landmark owner) even hitting those that are involved, the federal government and the ministry of works, that won’t want to even compensate you for any displacement and all of those things, it is just the person that has been your licencee without collecting money for the land you are using, that you are facing.

“The ugly part of it is that the story is now being tinted against us; rather than us being the victim, we are now the aggressor. So, that is what has happened and that is the impression we don’t want the public to have, as if you are oppressing this man over the land.”

Akanbi said, “They are painting us as the aggressor whereas we are the victim. It is our land you are on, it is our land you have been using since and that is why I told you about that google app, you can do it yourself and see how the thing moves. So, saying that you have been there since 2008, that means you have been where water was. From 2018, you can see how reclamation was being done, how the land was settled before it became what we are using. So you can’t even claim that you are the one that reclaimed the beach because it was a settlement, just like driving water away then finding yourself elsewhere. That is the same way that the water does and when the wave comes it brings sub-sand and deposits there and that is the authentication of position.

“You have been enjoying the beach without paying money. He ought to be paying us ideally from the money he makes on that beach, if we wanted to sit on our right, but we are not even insisting on our right.

Asked if Landmark had taken them to court, he said, “Well, as of now that I’m talking to you, we have not seen any case. You see what he says with his mouth is more potent than the court itself because an average person in Lagos will think that you are oppressing that man. That is even more destructive than the court. The impression you create for the people, in fact, some people today see it this way.

“What we are trying to do is to put our own facts out, let people know our own side of the story that we are not oppressing anybody. In fact, if anything, we are the ones that are the victims because now that they have been enjoying Oniru Beach, Landmark Beach, all of them, it is our land they have been enjoying. Ideally they should be paying us.”