The cordial relationship existing between Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu 1, and Lagos State Government may be waning as the monarch has criticized the authorities for excluding the landowners in the development of Eko Atlantic City project.

The project, driven by Messrs South Energyx Nigeria Limited, developers and city planners, has been named Eko Atlantic City. The new city will spread across seven districts, comprising residential, commercial, financial and tourism developments. About 250,000 residents, with commuter volume to exceed 150,000 people are expected in the city daily.

Aggrieved Akiolu, who spoke at a stakeholder’s meeting in Alausa, Lagos, said if such injustice that occurred in the conception of Eko Atlantic City should occur again in the development of future projects of such magnitude, he would go to court to challenge the government.

He said he was displeased with what the Lagos State Government did with the Eko Atlantic City as landowners did not benefit from the project, adding that government must learn to carry the host community along in developing projects of such magnitude that involved multi-nationals.

From data released last year by Residential Auctions Company (RAC), land prices in Eko Atlantic City have risen in value by as much 85 per cent since the project inception. The average price for a two bedroom apartment in one of the high rise towers currently under construction in Eko Atlantic City was selling for US$853,750 and for a three bedroom apartment in the same tower US$1,010,000.

Similarly, the average price for a two bedroom apartment in another high-rise tower was selling for US$896,750, a three bedroom apartment in the same tower US$1,070,833 and penthouse US$2,586,667.

Further analysis reveals that the average price for a two bedroom unit per sq. m assuming a living area of 135 sq. m would slightly exceed US$6,300 / sq. m in Eko Atlantic while the average price of a three bedroom unit per sq. m assuming a living area of 200 sq. m would be US$5,000 / sq. m.

Akiolu also lashed out on illegal activities of land grabbers and dredgers in the State, threatening that perpetrators are now liable to jail terms, saying that their activities had been reported to the State Government and authorities at the Federal level for proper punishment.

According to him, the era of impunity on Lagos lands and offshore would no longer be acceptable. He said though the lands and water resources were traditional rights of the inhabitants and “the Obas and chief can derive benefits from the God given resources.”

In response, the State’s Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Adebowale Akinsanya, said that it had become so urgent for the State government to do all that is humanly possible to arrest the Lagos fragile coastline and its attendant environmental challenges.

According to him, having reviewed the activities of dredgers in the State, the government had decided to suspend all dredging, put on hold all issuance of licenses till all new conditions and registration were adhered to.