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Illegal structures spring up on federal highways as residents hope for compensations in Cross River


An array of illegal structures are springing up on both sides of the Calabar-Itu federal highway following speculations about imminent payments of compensations for demolished structures to allow expansion and reconstruction of the road

Residents of the communities that line the over 100 km stretch of the federal highway have maintained that government should actually pay for the lands it wants to claim since they are ancestral lands.

Findings indicate that authorities have started to mark and document existing structures that may be pulled down for possible compensations ahead.

It would be recalled that the federal government recently paid compensations to those whose houses, farmlands and other ancient structures were pulled down for the expansion and ongoing reconstruction of the road.

Last year when the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola accessed the road, he gave indications that when the rains subside rehabilitation work will resume in full on the road.

Fashola had warned communities not to erect new structures as his ministry may not pay compensations for such newly built shops or shrines.

Construction firms have since started work on the road from the Odukpani end which is to be turned into a dual carriageway.

Community leader in Okurikang area of Odukpani LGA, Ene Okwa Ekpenyong said “We have information that more compensations are to be paid.

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“All families that have landed properties or ancestral lands or farms on the fringes of the highway want to equally benefit from the lands that the highway will claim.

“You can see how they have all come out to put up one structure or another. Some are building temporary concrete structures while others are using mud or bamboos. All these is to have evidence that structures were on the ground before demolition..”

Mr Asuquo Effiom who has also cultivated a small plantain farm on the roadside in hope of compensation when the demotion team arrives said it was important to indicate that the land belongs to his family so that compensation can also be paid instead of the government claiming all free.

Another youth leader, Benjamin Efiok in Ikot Ekpo still on the highway route said if the federal government does not capture them all, they will ensure that the construction firms pay them else they may not have it easy with the community.

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