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Sanwo-Olu disburses over N600m to rail project affected property owners

By Barakat Odegbola

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has flagged off the construction of 37-kilometer Agbado-Marina Red Line rail mass transit and presented over N600 million cheques as compensation to owners of 15 property on the Right of Way (RoW) expected to be affected by the project in the state.

The 15 owners that were compensated by the government include: Oladimeji Yinka; N260.4 million, Adegbesan Olamide Aanu; N45 million,  Ikeja club; N78 million, One Alimi Dauda from Iju axis; N12 million, Hamzat Ademola from Oyingbo; N67 million, Yomi Bakare; N61 million,  and Shaffi Basheer; N7 million.

Others were: a shop owner, Blessing Okhawere; N140, 000,  A. Aderibigbe from Ikeja; N27 million, Adebayo Florence; N1 million, Shaffi Mahmoud; N3 million, Abdul Sherif Mahmud; N3 million, and others.

Aside from the 15 owners that have received their compensation from the state government, other 245 individuals were already lined up for compensation after their property were identified by the contractor to be impeding on smooth completion of the project.

At the flag-off and presentation of cheques witnessed by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday, he noted that beneficiaries of the payments were those that have been verified to be bona fide property owners and tenants of buildings and structures to be removed for the construction to commence.

Sanwo-Olu said that the compensation to the property owners affected by the project, expected to move 500,000 commuters daily, was in fulfillment of the promise earlier made by the state government that all affected persons and property would be duly compensated for their loss.

The governor noted that the project is expected to be fully operational in the last quarter of 2022 and that it would complement the Blue Line that traverses from Okokomaiko to Marina which was at 78 per cent completion.

He further described the project as another initiative of his administration to deliver enduring infrastructure for the transport system and make Lagos a competitive megacity.

He said: “Today’s flag-off of the construction of infrastructure for the standard gauge Red Line is another promise kept and it demonstrates, in practical terms, our commitment to achieve the objectives of traffic management and transportation pillar in our development agenda. This is because we recognise the role which an efficient transportation system plays in enhancing people’s quality of life and as a major driver of socio-economic development.

“The State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which encompasses a number of projects that are germane to achieving our vision for a Greater Lagos, is founded on imperatives that seek to increase transport choices for all users and make the transit system integrated, attractive, convenient, affordable and accessible.

“Since efficient transportation is the backbone of any economy, we are happy to be committing this investment in our transport infrastructure, so that our people can meet their daily targets and aspirations. This all-important transport project we are all gathered to witness today represents a major step in this direction,” he added.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the implementation of the Red Line was being supported under the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirement (DCRR) programme – a financing package put in place by the State Government through the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN).

To facilitate smooth operations of the Red Line, Sanwo-Olu said the state Government would be constructing ancillary infrastructure, including six overpasses at strategic level crossing points along the rail corridor to eliminate interactions between the rail system, vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

According to him, the overpasses will provide grade-separated crossings that will enhance safety for the rail system and road users across the state.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The unique characteristics of the Red Line is its integration with the Ikeja Bus Terminal, Oshodi–Abule Egba Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lane, the future Orange Line, which goes from Ikeja to Agbowa, and the General Aviation Terminal One of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport through a skywalk.

“Another unique feature of the Red Line is that all the stations have elevated concourses with either at grade island or side platforms for easy boarding and alighting of passengers. The Red Line also integrates with our Bus Terminals at Oyingbo, Yaba, Oshodi, Ikeja, and Iju, giving modal options to our people in their daily commute, either for business or leisure”.

The Governor presented cheques of varying amounts as compensation to 25 residents whose properties, businesses, and accommodation will be affected by the project. Over 263 properties are affected. Many of the property owners and tenants were smiling as they got their cheques.

Earlier, Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladehinde, described the Red Line as a continuation of the implementation of the State’s Strategic Transport Master Plan, which made provision for six standard rail lines, one monorail, 14 BRT corridors, and over 20 waterway routes.

He said the intervention was a deliberate effort of the State Government and its development partners to make Lagos livable beyond Year 2032.

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