Coastal Highway Project: Lagosians Express Hope Amid planned demolition of Landmark Beach Resort.

Paul Onwuanibe, the CEO of Landmark Africa Group, has expressed hope regarding ongoing discussions with both Federal and Lagos State authorities to avert the planned demolition of Landmark Beach Resort. The resort is situated in the designated right of way for the Lagos-Calabar coastal Highway Project, aimed at connecting Lagos with Calabar and nine states along its route.

“Landmark is a business, Leisure and Lifestyle organization. We are the N0. 1 Tourist Platform in West Africa, And we’ve received several Awards to  this effect. We bought this site in 2007, we’ve been here for seventeen years, we’ve developed this site with a lot of money and a lot of  will over that period. We employ over 4, 000 people directly and 20,000 indirectly.  There are 4 Million visitors  that come heere every year and rising.”

Speaking to journalists at the resort last week, Onwuanibe conveyed optimism that solutions can be found to develop the road while preserving the resort’s ecosystem. He proposed redirecting the initial 1.5 km segment of the highway along the undeveloped median of Water Corporation Road to minimize disruption to the resort’s operations.

“There was a right of way for this coastal road that exists literally with the water corporation road median that’s undeveloped and has been there for many years as  the right of way for  the coastal road. For some reason, recently, the alignment has  been changed to run  on the beach side,  There are many options, you can start the road at  different places,  this is not  where the Lagos Coastal road starts, you can start the road at Eleko or Marina, but we are  the ground zero, we are at the first one and a half Kilometers of the coastal road.”

The Lagos State Government had previously announced plans to demolish “illegal” constructions along the highway’s route, issuing demolition notices to affected property owners. The 700km coastal highway, upon completion, is expected to boost the state’s economy by 50%, connecting to key infrastructure like the Lekki Deep Seaport and the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Complex.

However, concerns have been raised about the potential loss incurred in the pursuit of progress. As Lagos grapples with the complexities of development and preservation, the Federal government’s coastal highway project symbolizes the evolving landscape of the city, where progress and sustainability must be balanced.

Observers say while a coastal highway may have benefits such as improved transportation and connectivity, the decision to demolish a beach resort should be carefully considered. In the case of Landmark beach resort, over 3,000 young men and women will be left with  no jobs, business will forced to closedown, and families will be impacted in no small measure.

Chioma Okechukwu a Nurse based in the states says “Why would they want to do a thing lie that, it will be very sad if  they go ahead with such plans.

Another holiday maker said, “this place provides job for most of the young men and women here, I just wish they will let this place stay.

Maritime Lawyer Damilola Oshinuga hopes there will be some sort of negotiations that will give all sides a win-win.

“I don’t believe they will just demolish this place, I mean we have a Governor who has  listening ears, I believe they will come to some sort of agreement that will give all sides a win-win.”

Onwuanibe  proposes that the coastal highway be constructed in a way that existing tourism business  along the coast line be allowed to remain as coastal roads are meant to enhance tourism.

“My consistent message is there’s a win-win, lets win for Nigeria, lets win for Landmark beach resort, lets win for all the social businesses along its corridor, but most importantly, lets win for the families of these three and a half thousand people that work here.”

The outcome of the discussions between stakeholders will likely shape the future of Landmark Beach Resort and the broader development trajectory of Lagos, reflecting the delicate balance between progress and the preservation of valuable assets.

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