By Godwin Oritse
THE Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, last week engaged Lagos State Government officials in a heated debate at the National Assembly, Abuja, over the ownership of 11 hectares of land in the upscale Eko Atlantic City, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The NPA officials, led by the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Professor Idris Abubakar, while speaking at an investigative hearing on alleged financial irregularities in NPA and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) organised by the House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways, said in the construction of Eko Atlantic City, the Lagos State Government encroached on 11 hectares of land owned by NPA.
He said the land, known as the East Mole, had been owned by NPA since the 1960s long before the Eko Atlantic City project was conceived.
He said NPA had its navigational aids on the land, which had to be removed to give way to the Eko Atlantic City project.
Also speaking during the public hearing, the NPA Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello-Koko, who corroborated Abubakar’s claim, said the Lagos State Government equally encroached on the authority’s landed property in Takwa Bay and issued certificates of occupancy to illegal occupants of 36 acres of its land in Ikorodu.
However, the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau of Lagos State, Bode Agoro, disagreed with the NPA officials.
Agoro said Lagos state has no records showing NPA’s ownership of any parcel of land in the former Bar Beach turned up-scale property location named Eko Atlantic.
Agoro also said there was no issuance of certificates of occupancy on NPA’s land in Ikorodu.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Taiwo Salaam, who also addressed the House Committee members, said while Takwa Bay is owed by NPA, the land on which the Lagos State Government carried out a development in the area does not belong to NPA.
The Eko Atlantic City is a planned city of Lagos State being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. Upon completion, the new peninsula, which is still under development, is anticipating at least 250,000 residents and a daily flow of 150,000 commuters.
The city adjoins Victoria Island district of Lagos and the Phase 1 area of Lekki, to the north, while the entire Western, eastern and southern borders is on the coastline.