From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

The Federal Government has begun the verification of properties on the right of way of  Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway with a view to compensating the owners.

But anyone whose property is within 250 kilometers would lose it to the federal government.

According to the Minister of Works,  Dave Umahi, the  250-kilometer space belongs to  the federal government and it will take the intervention of President Bola Tinubu to grant a waiver to the property owners before they will be paid.

He said another set of people likely to lose their property in the project are shanty owners. These are illegal structures along the right of way and may not have titles.

Speaking during the inauguration of a verification committee in Abuja, Umahi, said that the government would use the federal rate rather than the state rate to pay, adding that only those with verified titles would be paid.

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According to him, as soon as the owners are fully verified, they would be paid within 72 hours.

“We are setting up a review committee to look at the work done by the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and the work to be reviewed by this committee is very simple. It’s just to interact with the property owners that are going to be affected and look at the compensation as enumerated. We are using a federal rate. I know that there’s nobody that will ever be satisfied but we are bound by law. So, we are using federal rate and federal rate is higher than Lagos rate.

“The moment the verification is done, we authorise payment. The contractor is going to pay directly to all those who are affected.  This verification will start on Wednesday in Lagos. The committee is just to verify the authenticity of those we are going to pay compensation to and  verify the dimensions. But where there’s a title problem, it will need a presidential waiver for such to be paid.

“Only those with approved titles will be paid. The owners will be sure that within 72 hours they would be paid. They have to make it clear that 250 kilometers belong to the federal government. So, if you have a title within the 250 kilometers only the President will give a waiver.

“I will work within the confines of the law. We have not more than 10 days to have this done. Mrs Keisha will head the committee. This committee is just to verify the authenticity of those we are going to pay compensation,” he said.