Residents of the Lekki area of the Lagos metropolis have called on the Lagos State House of Assembly to urgently bring about an end to the ongoing demarcation of coastal road, parts of which they said has been leased to developers by the Lagos State Government.
The residents, under the aegis of Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), made the call in a statement signed by Olorogun James Emadoye, LERSA President, saying the development is a threat to life and property in the area
“We are compelled to run to you and the State House of Assembly at this auspicious time of the year, as we have noticed heavy construction on the Coastal Road around Goshen Estate, Lekki.
“Our initial investigation revealed that some government officials are the ones that have allocated the Coastal Road to developers for various untenable reasons,” the statement said.
LERSA noted that the development, which it described as an existential threat, arose because of the activities of strange people.
“One of the builders, known as CLAM Church, has already constructed permanent structures on the Coastal Road and others are waiting to follow.
“LERSA is therefore compelled to bring this development to the attention of the Lagos State House of Assembly and appeal to the Honourable Members to use their good offices to ensure an urgent resolution that puts an end to a threat that is capable of dislocating the peace and tranquillity that currently exist in our state,” the association stated.
LERSA noted that when it hosted Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu as a candidate before the 2019 election, he promised that if elected, his administration would build the Coastal Road.
The association said it is surprised that it is the officials of the Sanwo-Olu administration that are allocating the land meant for the road to private developers.
“We are shocked to be told that the same government officials are the ones allocating the same road to private developers. The long-expected and much-needed Lekki Coastal Road planned by Lagos State Government to alleviate the severe traffic congestion in this axis is currently under threat following infringement by illegal developments beside Goshen Beach Estate and Regal Seaview Estates.
“This is a clear and deliberate infringement on the state masterplan in general and the coastal road in particular. We have established that three-quarters of the land has been leased out, with the remaining one quarter left in the hands of various illegal structures where miscreants and criminals operate freely, thereby creating a public nuisance and a security risk.
“It would interest our Honourable Members and the general public to note that Goshen Beach Estate Residents Association (GBERA) had, in fact, built the road leading from the end of Edward Cotonou Road to the Goshen Beach Estate front gate at a cost of over N15 million in January 2019.
“This construction by Converse Engineering, which was carried out as a CSR project to benefit both the local residents and the wider Lekki community, provided the only alternative route between Marwa and Ikate and was extremely critical in easing the traffic congestion along the Expressway.
“This critical alternative route, which received approval from Lagos State Government, has now been blocked by the development and the height barrier installed to deter ton trucks
unilaterally removed to allow access to trucks for the ongoing illegal projects,” LERSA said.
The association added that the first hints of the disagreeable development manifested in June 2021 when its members observed that the area around the road constructed by GBERA as a CSR project in 2019 was being cleared. At first, said the association, it assumed it was for the purposes of the coastal road project. However, when bulldozers moved in, it said, it became evident the area was being developed.
In October 2021, according to LERSA, residents discovered that a church was behind the development, forcing it to contact the Lagos State Governor with a letter drawing the attention of the New Towns Development Authority (NTDA). The letter, LERSA added, was also copied to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure as well as the Surveyor-General’s office.
According to LERSA, a meeting was held on 25 October 2021 with NTDA, LERSA, GBERA and Regal Seaview Stakeholders in attendance. At the meeting, the General Manager of NTDA confirmed that a temporary lease had been given to the Church and an Event Centre, adding that it was done to rid the area of hoodlums and shanties.
The General Manager of NTDA, it added, agreed to move the church, following strong representations from residents and issue a stop-work order to the developers. This, LERSA said, has been treated with indifference, as construction work has intensified, the reason it is seeking an immediate halt to construction in the area.
“We demand that an immediate halt be placed on any development along the planned coastal road around Goshen Beach Estate and Regal Seaview Estate in particular and the entire coastal road. “This is in the light of the negative impact such developments are already having and will continue to have on local residents and the wider Lekki population.
“We believe that this will create huge problems to successive governments on the issues of the payment of compensation when the road is to be developed, hence the request to abort forthwith.
“The Lagos State House of Assembly is the representative of the people. We are therefore calling on the Rt. Hon. Speaker and all well-meaning Honourable Members of the House to immediately look into this problem before it degenerates,” LERSA said.