Concern is mounting in Cowrie Creek Estate (CCE), along the Lekki-Epe corridor, Lagos, over alleged plans by the Lagos State government to align a proposed regional along the estate, in what may lead to the loss of over N10 billion investments by the occupants of the estate.
The estate which sits on about 45 hectares of land is said to have been acquired from the Elegushi Royal Family by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Cooperative Society, some years ago. The land at the time of the acquisition, according to the occupants of the state, was waterlogged, but had to be sand-filled and left for some years before the development began over 13 years ago.
Tony Molade, president of the estate residents association, described as the ‘height of injustice,’ the move by the Lagos State government to divert the proposed regional road through the estate rather than confront persons who, over the years, acquired and built on the original alignment of the regional road.
According to Molade, residents of the state had been law-abiding, as every bit of the development undertaken; from land acquisition by NLNG Cooperative, to sand-filing, electricity, underground sewage system, road infrastructure and erection of buildings were with the approval of the state government at a huge cost to the residents.
“Cowrie Creek Estate was conceived in 2007 by Nigeria Liquidified Natural Gas (NLNG) Cooperative Society as a private sector-led investment in the real estate sector of Lagos State. CCE is a residential estate with one of the best infrastructure along the Lekki corridor. To make the project a reality, NLNG Cooperative invested in the following: Grade A access road from Palm Spring Estate to the estate. This has brought a lot of development to the neighbourhood.
They also invested in the provision of power supply to the neighbourhood. They spent huge sums of money on sand filling the swamp leading to the estate and the lagoon. As a law-abiding corporate citizen, CCE diligently processed all our development approvals which took over 10 years to obtain including several alteration of the design and development. These alterations, at the instance of the Lagos State government, cost the estate hundreds of millions of naira.
“Some of the alterations include estate entrance moved previously due to the regional road alignment at a significant cost to the CCE. Sewage plant built based on the Lagos State government requirements.
Also, in securing development approval for the estate, CCE sought and got a clearance that the estate is not on the Right of Way (ROW) for the proposed regional road.
Information reaching us, however, suggests that the state government is considering diverting the proposed regional road into CCE to avoid demolishing the properties deliberately built on the right of way.
Please note that CCE plots belong to people who are not only law-abiding but have taken pains to do the right thing even at a very huge cost. It may interest you to know that the development in the estate is slow because the developers (NLNG Coop) insisted that no subscriber can develop any plot without the required approval and payment of all statutory fees.
The supposed bare lands are owned by individuals and are not bare as significant fund have been expanded to service the plots with underground power cables, water, sewage, drainage and other infrastructure including fence, CCTV e.tc.
The regional road does not pass through CCE and so attempt to now move it is an injustice for being law abiding. CCE has done nothing wrong and should not be punished,” said Molade.
Another resident of the estate, who spoke anonymously, described as ‘cruel’ government’s shifting of focus to the estate. The resident claimed knowledge of how Lagos State civil servants gave illegal approvals to land grabbers to build on the regional road ROW after being bribed. How do you then leave people who broke the law to punish law-abiding residents of CC Estate? The resident called on the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to spare the over N10 billion investment in the state.
However, reacting to the CCE residents’ allegations, the director of public affairs in the state ministry of physical planning and urban development, Mukaila Sanusi, said the state government does take arbitrary decisions.
“Anybody claiming that the government is diverting from ROW of the regional road is making unfounded allegation. The ROW of the regional road had been established with the involvement of the office of the Surveyor General of Lagos State, and the government has warned those who encroached to move,” said Sanusi.