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Lagos-Calabar road: FG will revert to gazetted route to save submarine cables, says Umahi

Lagos-Calabar road: FG will revert to gazetted route to save submarine cables, says Umahi
May 24
11:15 2024

David Umahi, minister of works, says the federal government will revert to the gazetted route within some kilometres of the Lagos-Calabar coastal highway project to save submarine cables.

Umahi spoke on Thursday during the 3rd stakeholders’ meeting of the coastal highway project in Lagos.

During the meeting, lawyers, traditional rulers, property owners, and ICT professionals spoke about their concerns on the new and old alignments.

In the previous stakeholders’ meeting, Umahi had said the federal government has been making adjustments to the route alignment in order to save businesses.

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Speaking at the meeting, Iliyasu Gashinbaki, group CEO of Machine and Equipment Consulting Africa, said there are three critical telecommunication facilities on the route of the new alignment.

Gashinbaki appealed to the federal government to save the facilities at the Mopo axis and reroute to the old alignment.

“The challenge there is that we have three critical infrastructures that are located on one spot. One is the 2Africa submarine cable that cuts across 33 countries connecting about three billion people,” the group CEO said.

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“That cable landed at Mopo (community) and where it landed, the West African cable systems (WACS) had already been located there about 17 years ago.

“In the basis of design, we have a mega IPP (independent power plant) which is to provide power to the 2Africa cable and the WACS cable… the power plant is a 50 megawatt power plant expected to support these infrastructure.

“The corridor as you have seen based on the new alignment is passing right on the submarine cable and the other side is on the IPP.

“You cannot have the submarine cables without power. They will not function. As everybody knows, the submarine cable is a critical national security infrastructure. If it is affected, everybody will be affected.

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“You will recall that two months ago, there was a challenge as far as Cote d’Ivoire but a significant part of Africa was blanked out.

“Our appeal today is in view of the fact that this is not just a private project, it’s a national project, it’s the internet gateway to the nation and it’s linked to national security.

“We are therefore appealing that for this critical infrastructure located at Mopo, that the road be diverted back to the route of the original gazette.

“But we’re also appealing that for such security and telecommunications national infrastructures, the government should find a way of being sensitive to that reality, and divert the road away from this critical national infrastructure.”

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Responding to the concerns, Umahi said if the federal government works with the old alignment of the project, 750 houses will be demolished, while the new alignment will take down 490 houses.

The minister said due to concerns raised by Okun-Ajah community and telecommunication firms, the federal government will divert to the old alignment and return to the new alignment at kilometre 25.

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“If we go by the old alignment, we have 750 houses to demolish; in the new alignment, we have 490 houses to demolish,” the minister said.

“But the infrastructure on the gazetted right of way is very sophisticated even though they broke the law. We are here to find solutions.

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“We have our proposal here, to the glory of God, to solve MTN, 2Africa and Okun-Ajah community (problems). We are diverting completely from the new alignment to the old alignment and we are rejoining back to our new alignment at kilometre 25.”

TheCable recently highlighted the losses and pains of business owners whose facilities have been affected by the project.

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