Government Reroutes Lagos-Calabar Coastal Road After Causing Irreparable Damage to Landmark Beach and Other Facilities

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In response to the demolition of parts of Landmark Beach and other facilities, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its decision to abandon the planned realignment of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

At the 3rd Stakeholders Meeting in Lagos, Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, disclosed that the proposed realignment of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway would no longer take place. This decision was made after careful consideration of the presence of submarine cables in the coastal region.

The realization that the proposed route would disrupt vital telecommunications infrastructure provided a key factor in the reversal of the government’s initial plans. Umahi acknowledged the importance of protecting these critical cables and the services they support, which ultimately led to the decision to abandon the planned rerouting.

In the aftermath of the realization that the submarine cables could be compromised by the proposed rerouting, the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway will return to its original route for a 9-kilometer stretch, diverting away from the shoreline.

Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, provided a detailed explanation for this decision, highlighting the fact that three crucial infrastructure components occupy the same area, namely the 2Africa submarine cable, the West African cable systems (WACS), and a power plant that generates 50 megawatts of electricity.

Going further, the Minister underscored the significant national security implications of any disruption to the submarine cables that traverse the coastline. In light of a recent incident in Cote d’Ivoire, which resulted in a devastating blackout across a large portion of the African continent, the Minister emphasized the importance of safeguarding such vital infrastructure to prevent similar occurrences in Nigeria.

Addressing concerns about the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) documentation, Minister Umahi clarified that the information would not be released at this time, citing Section 15 (b) of the Freedom of Information Act. According to this section, government agencies are permitted to withhold certain information that may relate to third parties.

The Minister, cognizant of the importance of transparency, provided an explanation for the decision not to release the EIA documentation, which balances the need to protect sensitive information with the responsibility to ensure the public remains informed about the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project.

This decision to revert to the original alignment has drawn criticism from some quarters, with detractors questioning the competence of Minister Umahi. These critics argue that the impact on the submarine cables and other crucial infrastructure should have been thoroughly assessed and taken into consideration before the demolition of buildings and facilities in the affected area.

The perceived lack of due diligence by the government has been highlighted by these individuals, who contend that the decision to change the alignment represents a failure of proper planning and foresight on the part of the Minister and his team. The controversy around this issue has amplified the importance of careful and comprehensive planning in infrastructure development projects.




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