By Jude Njoku
In fulfilment of its promise to adequately compensate those whose properties were demolished to pave the way for the construction of the multi-billion Naira 10-lane Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the Lagos State government yesterday paid compensation to the first batch of victims of the exercise.
Presenting cheques to three of the 10 corporate organisations and individuals whose ownership claims have been verified and authenticated, the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Prince Rotimi Oyekan, said the state government had made provision for about N2 billion to pay compensation to victims of the ongoing demolition.
He said the payment of compensation to victims of demolition along the 7.3 kilometre stretch from Eric Moore through Orile Iganmu to Maza-Maza bridge, which constitutes the first phase of the project, was an ongoing exercise.
A total of 122 properties along the corridor were enumerated by the Lands Bureau of which 48 individuals and corporate organisations have submitted their title documents for verification and payment of compensation.
Those who received their cheques yesterday were Paache Steel Limited which was represented by its legal adviser, Mr Rasaq Apalara; Engr Ambrose Agboro and Alhaji Memud Ahmad.
Those whose compensation claims are ready but who have not come for collection include: Doyin Group of Companies, General Marble & Granite Co Limited, Rotunda Hospital and Visa Intâ€™ Limited. Others are Chief V.O. Aro, Alhaji Makanjuola and Vincent Whelu Martins Onyenorah.
Prince Oyekan who called on all allottees with genuine papers to come up for verification and payment, explained that the road project will on completion, boost the economy of the state particularly along that axis.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Lands in the State Lands Bureau, Mrs Nike Animashaun said that the first phase of the road project will be completed and delivered within 24 months. She explained how the compensation being paid was arrived at.
â€œCompensation is done according to the Land Use Act. The Land Use Act says that when the government acquires land for overriding public interest like the construction of this road for the benefit of Lagosians, we have an obligation to pay compensation to those people whose property or land would be affected by such revocation.
The compensation is calculated according to the Land Use Act which says that if it is bare land, that is, there is no structure on it, the compensation that the government is liable to pay is just the ground rent. If it a land where there is some form of construction or structure, the government will pay you for the structure you have on it and we arrive at this using the valuation of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. It is transparent process which anyone can cross check and see how we arrived at the figures.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Mr Apalara thanked the government for the prompt manner it responded to the verification and compensation payment. He also commended the government for its decision to give alternative allocation to those whose properties were pulled down to reclaim the right of way.