As Lagos State Government prepares for the first phase construction of a 37-kilometre rail project, about 297 properties on the Right of Way (RoW) may be demolished.
Already, government through the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) has engaged two firms, Nolasimbo Consulting Engineers and Partners Limited, and Global Impact Environmental Consulting Limited to identify Project Affected Persons (PAPs), businesses, premises and structures along the ROW.
The project, known as Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line is part of Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT), expected to run through Oyingbo to Agbado in Ogun State, cutting through residential and office buildings in Mushin, Yaba, Ikeja among other highly populated areas.
The design involves provision of stations at Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin, Oshodi, Ikeja, Agege, Iju and Agbado. The government plans to complete the project in thefourth quarter of 2022.
It is being implemented as part of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration’s vision for better traffic management and transportation. Under the project, about 20 million passengers are to be transported daily.
The Managing Director, Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Abimbola Akinajo, told The Guardian that the lists of affected persons have been published in accordance with World Bank standard.
According to her, every affected person has three weeks to make changes to their names, if wrongly spelt. She added that ‘the process have been done and we didn’t do it perversely.’
On compensation plan, Akinajo stressed “that it would be done in accordance with World Bank standard, after the indentification of the PAP’s, they would be compensated, every single one of them.’’
The Guardian learnt the project would have 10-bridges along the rail corridor. The Lagos State government will construct five while the Federal Government will build the others.
Specifically, the Lagos State Government would construct the bridges at Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin, at Kayode and Ogunmokun streets, and Ikeja.
MEANWHILE, a past president, International Right of Way Association (IRWA), Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Mark, said involuntary resettlement or acquisition should be avoided or minimised in the execution of the project.
He told The Guardian “If the project is funded by the State Government, I will assume that they will want to handle compensation issues as stated in the Land Use Act of 1978, which is the applicable law regarding ownership, transfer, acquisition and all such dealings.
“The Act vests all land in every state on the State Government, while individuals only enjoy a right of occupancy; if such lands are revoked, the claimant is entitled to the value of the unexhausted development as at the date of revocation. That is what the law says.”
However, he stated that for Lagos State that prides itself as the Centre of Excellence and leads in application of best practice in carrying out government’s business, it should adhered strictly to the use of international best practice/World Bank policy, which is referred to as OP.4.12.
The policy, he explained advocates avoidance or minimisation but where it is inevitable, compensation should be at full replacement cost.
“Where it has been decided, as in the case of Lagos rail mass transit project, it should be conceived and executed as a sustainable development programme, by providing sufficient investment resources to enable persons displaced by the project share in project benefits.
“The policy further states that persons displaced must be consulted and should have opportunity to participate in the planning and execution of the resettlement; compensated for their losses at full replacement cost prior to civil works.”
Mark said the determination of cost for compensation at full replacement cost including labour and relocation expenses, prior to displacement, can only be done by a trained and sound estate surveyor and valuer.
The Chairman Lagos branch, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr. Dotun Bamigbola told The Guardian that the approach by the state government for the evaluation of ROW compensation seems different from what it used to be.
He said: “We did write to LAMATA and they replied by giving us names of estate surveyors involved and were part of the consortium. The state selected consortium of experts not only on the issue of compensation but also engineering.”
“The only remedy for those who are to be compensated is to engage their own estate surveyors and valuers to do their assessment. The international standard for ROW is that it should be a two-way thing. When one party just dedicate to another, there is bound to be some level of dissatisfaction even when they do not have a choice.”