A Race With Time and the Ocean for Lagos, Nigeria

One of the world’s fastest growing cities offers a glimpse of the future for low lying metro areas

Lagos glimpse of the futre

Lagos State Is West Africa’s Chaotic Economic Hub, But The Ocean Is Eating Away It’s Territory

Residents of Lagos State have watched nervously as the Ocean waters threaten the geographically constrained land of this port city of 21 million. One of the fastest growing cities in the world, the economy is driven by the booty of oil extraction in rural areas. It is also one of the lowest lying major cities and offers a snapshot of the near future as unchecked development bangs up against the realities of global warming and rising seas. As new projections for global sea level rise suggest a target closer to ten feet by century’s end, Lagos is looking at near term inundation that has the population actively alarmed.

The level of the Atlantic bordering Victoria Island has been rising visibly over the past year, covering the former squatter village of Kuramo Beach and killing dozens in an ocean surge. Goshen Beach Estate, Oniru Estate and Alpha Beach have all been inundated within the year. These events are the most recent in a series of ocean surge disasters of varying magnitude and cost. If the global predictions are correct, all of Lagos will be under water by 2100.

Lagos glimpse of the futre
A city of 21 million builds a gleaming new development. Somewhere else.

At the moment however, the government is preoccupied with its marquis development project built on land being reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean through a massive engineering project. Eko Atlantic City is being constructed partially on land appropriated from an existing commercial area and partially on imaginary 4 million acres the Ocean will give up to man’s superior technology.

The city is a joint venture project between Lagos State government and the developer – South Energyx Limited. It is an ambitious development that will be sitting on 9 million square metres of reclaimed land from the Atlantic Ocean. An existing beach is being excavated and the sand moved to where the developers want it. The new land will be protected by the “Great Wall of Lagos, which will be about five miles long and 25 fee high. Lagos City fathers say the benefits in terms of wealth creation are enormous, and no one doubts that. However, the environmental engineers claim that Eko Atlantic City is actually exacerbating the problem.

The dredging begin in 2009 and the first public meeting on the project was held in 2011.

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