Community Protests, Championed by Take It Back Movement, Compels Tinubu to Alter Coastal Road Alignment For Two Affected Communities

In response to fervent community protests led by the Take It Back Movement, President Tinubu has been compelled to alter the alignment of the coastal road project.

Minister of Works, David Umahi, made the announcement during a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, following a series of protests by some of the affected communities in recent days. The decision to change the coastal road alignment came as a response to the concerns and demands voiced by the communities, who had been steadfastly opposing the original plan that would have had detrimental impacts on their land and livelihoods.

Umahi further revealed during the stakeholders’ meeting that President Tinubu has instructed him to reroute the Coastal Road alignment through a swamp for two affected communities.

According to reports, Engr. Iliyasu, representing a machine and equipment company, delivered a presentation shedding light on the potential impacts of the new road alignment at the stakeholders meeting. Iliyasu explained how the company’s advanced cables, which land at Mopo, supply 50 megawatts of energy and power telecommunications facilities in the region.

Highlighting the potential consequences of the new alignment, the presenter demonstrated that the transmission cables serve numerous telecom and security outfits, and the proposed change could adversely affect their operations.

While announcing the diversion of the road alignment for the affected communities in Mopo and Okun-Ajah, who had protested the initial plan, the Minister of Works, David Umahi, revealed that President Tinubu would be in Lagos on Sunday to officially inaugurate the project. However, this decision has been met with resistance from other communities who feel their concerns have not been adequately addressed in the new alignment.

According to Objectv media, a media outlet that covered the stakeholders’ meeting, the Onibeju of Ibeju-Lekki land representative presented a request for the new alignment to be adjusted further into the swamp to accommodate the concerns of other communities. However, Minister David Umahi reportedly declined the request, citing various considerations and constraints involved in the project’s planning.

In April, residents of Iwerekun, Solu-Orumija, Awofin, and Odusina Villages under Ibeju Lekki local government in Lagos state, were joined by the Take It Back Movement to protest the proposed realignment of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.

The Take It Back Movement along with the embattled communities led protests, ensuring that their impassioned cry for justice was heard far and wide, rallying local and international media to capture the intensity of their cause. The demonstrators brandished striking placards, emblazoned with powerful messages such as “The preservation of ancestral homes is more valuable than the cost of realigning the road,” “Tinubu, defend our homes from destruction,” and “Federal Government, listen to the people and preserve the original alignment of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway.”

In his passionate address during the protest, National Coordinator of the Take It Back Movement, Sanyaolu Juwon bemoaned the potential loss of thousands of homes and centuries of history in the face of the proposed realignment. He revealed that their village, with its roots tracing back over 500 years, risked erasure from the map. With this plea for intervention, Sanyaolu elucidated the significance of the protest, stating that it sought to draw the government’s attention to the dire situation.

Sanyaolu further explained that the remoteness of the government often prevents them from being aware of the challenges that rural communities like theirs face. He asserted that the protest was a necessary outcry to make their plight heard and to urge the government to act in their best interests. Sanyaolu cited the example of villages in Oyo state that successfully averted demolition by banding together and making their voices heard.

Adding weight to their protest, the Iwerekun, Solu-Orumija, Awofin, and Odusina communities jointly released a statement, signed by their respective Baales, that outlined their shock and dismay at the sudden change of plans for the coastal road, which threatened to erase their ancestral villages.


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