FORMER IRWA CHAPTER 84 PRESIDENT HIGHLIGHTS URGENT INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS
Dr. Emmanuel Mark, former president of Nigeria's International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Chapter 84, has underscored the pressing requirement for substantial infrastructure funding in the country. Addressing the 69th Educational Conference of IRWA in Denver, Colorado, Mark emphasized that Nigeria must bridge its existing infrastructure gaps with an annual investment of approximately $150 billion.
Mark, who also serves as the Head of Practice at Nuel Mark & Partners, an estate surveying and valuation firm, stressed the critical need for immediate action to address challenges related to Right of Way (ROW), land administration, valuation, and compensation for infrastructure projects
As Nigeria's population has grown from 45.1 million in 1960 to an estimated 221 million presently, with projections reaching 400 million by 2050, Mark highlighted the necessity for an estimated $2.3 trillion investment over the next three decades to address the nation's infrastructure deficit.
He pointed out significant urban population increases, such as Lagos State's growth from seven million in 2020 to an anticipated 15 million, and Port Harcourt's rise from one million in 2000 to a projected 3.4 million.
Mark emphasized that a critical hurdle in infrastructure development
lies in acquiring the necessary Right of Way for projects. He noted that Nigeria lacks effective land administration and compensation valuation mechanisms, urging an urgent review and reform of the current Land Use Act.
Key challenges outlined by Mark include issues related to land revocation, compensation delays, and the construction of structures along the ROW that hinder compensation processes.
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Mark advocated for simplified guidelines on compulsory land acquisition by the government, a clear definition of public purpose, and judicial review of gubernatorial decisions. He emphasized the importance of conducting Environmental Impact Assessments before project takeovers to manage land rights and project impacts effectively.
He proposed amendments to enabling laws to ensure fair compensation, considering not only improvements but also the land's intrinsic value. Mark stressed that the acquisition process should involve consultation, negotiation, valuation, compensation, and dispute resolution.
Mark concluded by highlighting the ongoing efforts of IRWA Chapter 84 and the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) to promote a just and comprehensive ROW acquisition process in Nigeria. He affirmed the importance of consultation
, negotiation, and transparency to achieve a balanced and effective infrastructure development framework.