Concerns as impunity, illegal devts hurt businesses on Water Corporation Road
by CHUKA UROKO & JOSHUA BASSEY
June 22, 2018 | 2:00 am| | | Start Conversation
The culture of impunity which underpins the illegal and unauthorized developments on the popular Water Corporation Road in Oniru, Victoria Island Extension, Lagos, have continued to raise concerns as these actions are, in more ways than one, hurting both residents and businesses on that road. Since early March this year, an entire lane of the Road has been sealed off intent on converting same to land for private use, not minding that this is a hub for various tax-paying businesses and events centres.
Apart from shutting down commercial activities, this act of impunity and disregard for constituted authority is also affecting local residents and businesses who have been constrained to endure terrific traffic gridlock, seasonal flooding and other inconveniences.
Water Corporation Road provides access to many iconic developments including the Landmark Event Centre, upcoming iconic The Oceania Tower being promoted by Grenadines Homes, the massive Landmark Village, Trinity House Church, De Venue Event Centre, Aba Petroleum, Exclusive Mansions Hotel, Love of Christ Generation Church (currently undergoing construction), RCCG Peace Assembly, among others.
“What we have in this corridor are world class developments and that is why we are appealing to the two major stakeholders, the Lagos State government and the native land owners to work together and ensure that both the residents and businesses here enjoy world class roads infrastructure that befit those developments”, pleaded Paul Onwuanibe, CEO, Landmark Group, in a telephone interview.
Continuing, Onwuanibe said that they were not only socially responsible and tax-paying citizens, they were also friends of the government and are therefore seeking government’s help to provide drainages and enforce parking restrictions on the road as, according to him, most of the illegal developments do not have parking lots and so park their vehicles along the road.
When BusinessDay visited the Road at the weekend, it was discovered that, the challenges were still there despite the visit of the state governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to the area on inspection. The road was not free yet as the illegal developments were still going on, raising questions as to who are behind those illegality and acts of impunity.
Ambode, during the inspection, assured that all the illegal developments on the road would be demolished, but that remains to be seen or done and so, the people’s woes subsist. Some of the business and property owners alleged that the road median had been unlawfully leased out to illegal developers by persons strongly connected to the families who have control over lands within that corridor. BusinessDay gathered that land in the area are controlled by the Oniru Royal Families.
“In early March this year, they came and cordoned off a section of the road intent on converting same to a private use.
We cried out and made noise against it, but nothing happened. For months, everybody around this area was forced to use only one section of the road. It was not until last week that the cordoned off portion of the road was reopened. We hear that it was re-opened because the state governor was coming around for inspection.
“If you drive from the Lekki end of the road towards Victoria Island, as you approach the Landmark Event Centre, you will notice that a portion of the median is fenced off. It has been like that for some time now. And you wonder how on earth the government could allow some individuals, no matter how powerful, to exhibit that level of impunity, said a property owner, who did not want to be named.
A security guard who works for one of the churches located along the road said they were often intimidated by people who claimed to have the backing of the land owners each time the church questioned the illegality being perpetrated on this Road. “We don’t have a voice. Nobody can question them,” the security man said
Findings further showed that asides the fence, some business concerns were also operating on the road median. Among them are Queen Park, an event centre, auto sales, block-making and Paintbull American (West African branch).
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