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Lagos commences Dubai-Marina Epe waterfront project

As property owners protest, say ‘we’re not ready to forfeit our heritage’

Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the Epe Waterfront Project, an initiative by the Lagos State government could be completed on schedule, as the first phase already began.

As at last week, the entire stretch of Aiyetoro market to Marine Police post end, had already been sand filled, with tractors still working on other ends.

Named “Dubai-Epe Marina Waterfront”, the concept, according to the officials, is to replicate what is happening in Dubai, Singapore, Disneyland in the United States of America (USA) among others, where tourism, entertainment, amusement and relaxation had gotten to the higher level.

The project is planned to have following facilities and infrastructure: civic centre for special purposes, food venue, museum aquarium, boat club and boating services, dock amusement, arcade and landscape playing ground, retail shops, sport bar, amphitheater and band shell, among others.

The project would occupy nine kilometres on the Lagoon side, with about 60 metres inward on the other side.

The Dubai-Marina project, according to  Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, is going to be the “first of its kind in the Sub-Sahara Africa, where tourism would ranked in the same dimension of what is operating in Dubai, Singapore or Disneyland in Florida, United State of America.”

To ensure the smooth execution of the project, a stakeholders’ meeting was conveyed last week to iron out what officials described as “grey areas” between government and the property owners that their buildings may be affected.

Although, officials had given assurances that no building would be demolished, they said where such exercise would take place, adequate compensation would be provided, and possibly, relocation at government’s expense.

The meeting, held at the Epe Local Government Secretariat, Orita Marun,  last week, was attended by traditional rulers, political office holders, government officials, women and youth groups was marred with protest over the rumour of number of buildings that would be demolished.

In his address at the meeting, Commissioner For Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowoshe, urged the indigenes whose property may be affected to cooperate with government, assuring them that adequate compensation would be paid, “that is only any building would be affected at all.”

He added that, “the development will enhance property value whereby you’ll be making money from rent because by the time we finish the project, people will be willing to stay in Epe.”

However, property owners in the affected area insisted that they were not ready to forfeit their heritage for any development.

The bone of contention was the proposed 60 metres inward on the left side of the lagoon, that was designated for multi-purpose building, which the community said is too much.

As expressed by one of them, Kabiru Etti, “we are not favourablly to the proposed 60 metres inward, to grant such request is an attempt to dislodge us from our source and forfeit our heritage.”

But assuring them that they woudld not be shortchanged, Sole Administrator of Epe Local government, Olu Oguniyi and a political leader in Epe, Chief Shakiru Seriki, alias Bamu, assured them that a workable solution would be provided.

While the situation ended on stalemate, another meeting was slated for November 28, 2016.