Lagos State government to render thousands jobless as it plans demolition of Paul Onwuanibe’s Landmark Beach Resort

Lagos State government to render thousands jobless as it plans demolition of Paul Onwuanibe’s Landmark Beach Resort

The Lagos State government is all set to demolish the popular Landmark Beach Resort to give way for the coastal highway construction of Lagos-Calabar

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The Lagos State government is all set to demolish the popular Landmark Beach Resort to give way for the coastal highway construction of Lagos-Calabar road project.

This was contained in a letter to business mogul Paul Onwuanibe owner of the property, dated March 19, 2024, and signed by the Deputy Director (Development Matters Department) Tpl Shomolu O., on behalf of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.

According to the letter, the state government noted that the sections of the property billed for demolition such as the Beach Resort, Kids and Bay Arena, Members Area, Lagos Beach Club fall within the Right of Way of the proposed road project by 50 meters.

Onwuanibe said receiving seven day’s notice of removal of property felt like it was an April fool that had come early.

The beach resort which is valued at over $200 million, according to Onwuanibe, the Landmark site is home to over 80 businesses and provides more than 4,000 direct jobs.

It also generates over N2 billion that is, $1.5 million in annual tax revenue.

The Lagos state government had written the company in two different national newspaper on the demolition over the demolition for the constriction of 103 kilometres stretch of the 700km Lagos-Calabar coastal highway by the Federal Ministry of Works, in collaboration with Lagos State Government.

The state government informed him that his property falls within the Right of Way Alignment of the project by 50 meters while also urging him to file compensation claims.

“Consequently, the affected portion shall be removed in overriding public interest, to pave way for the road construction project from seven days of serving this notice.

“In view of the above, I am to request you to forward all documents supporting your ownership of the property to the Permanent Secretary, Lands Bureau, Block 13 and 14, The Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja,” the publication.

58 year old Onwuanibe is a real estate developer and runs his business under Landmark Group. He is a key player in Nigeria’s tourism and hospitality industries.

The group’s leisure beach, listed among Nigeria’s best seven beaches in 2023 by the Lonely Planet travel guide, is a lucrative part of the 13-hectare mixed-use Landmark site along the Atlantic Ocean beachfront in Victoria Island, Lagos.

It is a top-tier destination visited by about a million local and foreign visitors acquired in 2007 before the plans for the coastal highway were drawn up.

Approval for the new coastal road was given on February 27 by the federal government. When completed, it will enter the world record books among iconic coastal routes like the Wild Atlantic Highway in Ireland and the Pacific Coastal Highway in the United States.

The first part of the N1.06 trillion highway will be built in Victoria Island. The superhighway will run through a total of nine coastal states in Nigeria and will have five lanes on each side of the dual carriageway and a train track in the middle, as well as spurs linking up with northern Nigeria.

Born in the United Kingdom, Onwuanibe said he shut down his investments abroad in 2007 to focus on ventures in Africa due to the continent’s economic prospects.

He commended the planned coastal project for connecting vital regions of the country but feared it came at a steep cost for tourism in Lagos and posed a threat to foreign direct investment into the country if Landmark Beach is eventually torn down.

“People who bring in money to make cities like this effective will be very concerned with the proposed demolition of the beach resort. It will pose a huge threat to inward investment into the state and, most importantly, pose a threat to people who are already in the state trying to do things,” Onwuanibe said.

The demolition he said would be an enormous loss, with millions of dollars of borrowed money already spent on developing the resort.

“We’ve spent between $80 and $90 million developing this ecosystem and one-third of that was spent on the beach. So, all that, which we are still paying loans on, will disappear,” he said.

Onwuanibe said foreign and local investors in Landmark Group were now threatening to pull out if the beach resort, which includes a mini golf course, a beach soccer field as well as a volleyball and basketball court, is removed.

“Without the beach, the entire ecosystem is at risk and is severely damaged. I have had widespread panic calls from my international and local investors as well as local debt providers threatening to pull the plug as they think this is material to our survival as a business,” he added.

See below, letter from the state government to Onwuanibe.