300,000 Naira per square metre Eko Atlantic City in Lagos excludes the poor
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300,000 Naira per square metre Eko Atlantic City excludes the poor

Artist's impression of Eko Atlantic City, Lagos, Nigeria

As the new coastal city, Eko Atlantic City enters its second phase, you will need over N300,000 for just one square metre to live there, reports SAMUEL AWOYINFA

For those who have followed the development of Lagos, Eko Atlantic City may not sound strange. The city is located on a stretch of coastline at the popular Bar Beach on Victoria Island.

To a casual visitor, nothing is as thrilling cool breeze coming from the ocean and the occasional splash of the sea, which follows the tidal waves. But if the visitor looks farther into the middle of the ocean, he would see a stretch of ongoing construction work.

Eko Atlantic City is a public-private partnership between the Lagos State Government and South Energyx Nigeria Limited. According to the Managing Director, South Energyx, Mr. David Frame, the idea of the project took shape between 2003 and 2006, following an invitation from Lagos State, in its bid to find a “permanent solution to the Bar Beach erosion.” Bell & Ross BR 01 Replica

Frame stated that engineering studies commenced in 2003, while emergency shoreline protection works were executed between 2005 and 2007 to protect Ahmadu Bello Way, which had partially collapsed into the sea following a tidal surge threatening to overwhelm Victoria Island.

He said the reclamation work on the Bar Beach began in 2008 and currently, the total land area reclaimed is 3,800,000 square metres or 380 hectares.

The project, which has entered its second phase, is described by Frame as a “multi-billion dollar project, with substantial sums already committed.”

How far as construction work gone?

He replies: “One residential and one commercial building are progressing at the design stage.”

Owning a house or commercial centre at the Eko Atlantic City will not come cheap. Moreover, the price is dollar-denominated.

According to Frame, for the waterfront, it costs $2,000 per square metre, while the inner city costs $1,000 per square metre.

And for those who might want to pay in Naira, he said, payment must be made at the prevailing exchange rate.

“Eko Atlantic will be a new home to 250,000 people and the workplace of another 150,000. The nine-square kilometre development will have waterfront areas, tree-lined streets, efficient transport systems and mixed-use plots that combine residential areas with leisure facilities, offices and shops,” he added.

The certificate of occupancy given to South Energyx is for 78 years and it started counting from 2006.

But how many Nigerians have bought or indicated interest in Eko Atlantic City?

Frame was evasive, as he merely stated, “A substantial area of land in Phases 1 and 2 is available for development, with a large proportion already acquired.”

Again, what environmental impact assessment was carried out before embarking on building the city? For an answer to this, Frame only directed our correspondent to the company’s web site.

The site states that the company is working with China Communications Construction Group, a global leader in the field of marine dredging and landfill operation and Royal Haskoning (traffic and transport expertise) and architects.

It further adds, “Testing of the sea defence system found place at the DHI Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, where models were successfully tested for one in a hundred-year ocean surge, one in 120 years, one in 150 years and one in 1,000 years’ storm, the worst storm that it is estimated can possibly happen in the area.”

The Lagos State Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development,Franck Muller Vanguard Replica Mr. Adesegun Oniru, said the state had ensured that necessary standards were adhered to in safeguarding Eko Atlantic City from all manners of storm or even a tsunami.

He stated that the city is bordered by what is called the ‘Great City Wall of Lagos’ or ‘sea wall,’ which could withstand the worst Atlantic storm that could be expected in over 100 years.

“A number of environmental impact assessments was done. One was done by the Royal Dutch company, Royal Haskoning, together with the Federal Ministry of Environment. It is a continuous assessment; as the project progresses, more assessments would be done,” Oniru said.

He said Nigeria might not experience the kind of Hurricane Sandy which hit some parts of New York and New Jersey in the United States, because, according to him, sea wind builds up from this end, and gathers strength as it moves down to South America and the Caribbean.

What is in this city for Lagosians?

Oniru said the revenue which the state would generate from the city’s development would be channelled into infrastructure development which Lagosians would benefit from. Oniru does not see the price being charged by the developers as outrageous, “Since the company had invested money in the project, it must recoup its investment.’’

Oniru confirmed that the company was given a certificate of occupancy spanning 78 years. He, however, could not tell the completion date of the project.

“The project is being done in phases; it is now in phase two and the development of the first building has commenced,” he said.

However, a meteorologist and climatologist, Prof. Temi Ologunorisa, has some fears over the siting of Eko Atlantic City on the Atlantic Ocean. The Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Studies, Osun State University, Osogbo, Ologunorisa, said despite all the impact assessments done, the promoters of the project must face the reality of climate change.

“Though we are at the equator, and the likelihood of experiencing storm of higher dimension as Hurricane Sandy may be slim, there are conditions for the formation of a hurricane. The ocean pressure must be as high as 27 degrees and above. So, I must say we are not free from ocean surges, sea level rise and other forms of tropical disturbances. Eko Atlantic City is also vulnerable,” he stated.

Ologunorisa noted that trying to copy models from Singapore, Tokyo and other developed cities without having the necessary technology and building contingency might be suicidal.

He warns, “In Tokyo, their leaders know it is earthquake region, they build their houses in such a way that they can swing when there is a tremor. But here in Nigeria, the kind of structure we build will crack in the face of simple earth tremor.”

Also, Environmental journalist and founder, Heroes of the Environment Foundation, Mr. Tunde Akingbade, said he had done extensive investigation on the project and discovered that there were issues with the environmental impact assessment carried out in Denmark. He noted that Nigerian experts were not carried along in the project.

Apart from this, he added, the developers did not carry all stakeholders along, pointing out that the effects of dredging and building of the sea wall at the Bar Beach have started to have effects on the surrounding coastal communities.

Akingbade said, “The location of the project at the Bar Beach has led to the complete wiping-off of the marine organisms there. They can’t say their project is more important than the natural organisms. As they are building that sea wall, the ripple effects have started manifesting in areas like Lekki. The sea fronts are being eroded.”

Painting a similar scenario, he pointed out that the East and West mole constructed by the British in 1910 to stabilise the Lagos Harbour actually accelerated the erosion of the Bar Beach.

Akingbade also agreed that hurricane could not happen there, but he said there have been storms with dire consequences in the past.

Another climatologist, Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, who made a presentation in January on the project, also stressed that Nigeria was immune to hurricane. He said the whole of West Africa cannot experience hurricane unless the general circulation system is reversed.

He did add, however, that “Nigeria can have intensified sea storm surges due to global warming-induced sea level rise that could be destructive.”

Concerning the Eko Atlantic, he said though he heard that government carried out an EIA on the site, he had not read it.

“We need more details about the implications of the sand filling that must be done, despite the claim by the Lagos State Government that it is only trying to reclaim the portion of the Bar Beach that has been eroded over a period of time.

“What caused the erosion? What are the marine and coastal dynamics of the erosion? Can we compare the Bar Beach of 100 years ago without the type of current development with the sand-filled Bar Beach of 2012 with Victoria Island and Lekki human settlements? What we are advocating is a public hearing and scientific analysis to convince the public that all is well,” he said.


Culled from Punch Newspaper (Nigeria)