Without any doubts, Lagos is one of the world’s fast growing city, it is the fastest in Africa, this incredibly fast growth pace places pressure on the city’s infrastructures, facilities and space. The city is also battling with the fight to save Victoria Island which was costing both state and local governments incredibly huge sums of money. But the most successful panacea to this enormous challenge is the ongoing Eko Atlantic City which does not the government anything.
The project is expected to be the financial centre of Nigeria and that of Africa. Many world leaders including former US President Bill Clinton has already commended the promoters of project including investors, planners, engineers and contractors. Speaking while unveiling the project which currently covers about five million square metres of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, he said the city would attract people from across the world in the next five years and would improve the domestic economy of Nigeria and bring enormous opportunities to the world.
To protect the city against the sea waters, a wall has been built around it – the first of its kind anywhere in the world. According to Clinton, countries and cities affected by flood would come to Lagos to learn how the wall was built.
Clinton said: “These people will come to Nigeria to see the Great Wall of Lagos. We have spent billions of dollars to protect the low-lying areas from rising sea levels. I have spent part of my life now trying to do a lot of work on climate change to help people deal with the consequences that are already underway; you have experienced it here in the recent past.”
The development brings together private individuals and companies who have the knowledge and expertise to transform land lost to the power of the sea into an ocean-front city that will be one of the wonders of the 21st century.
The multibillion-dollar investment is provided solely by private investors. Those already on board include local and international banks – First Bank, FCMB, Access Bank Plc. and GT Bank in Nigeria, BNP Paribas Fortis and KBC bank – as well as a growing number of private investors. Prime investment property opportunities are available for private companies and individuals, which are proving very popular; investing in Africa has never been more attractive.
The water, sewage and storm drains for Eko Atlantic are also a groundbreaking undertaking for Lagos. Currently, there are no existing centralised mains services for water and sewage in the city. Eko Atlantic’s centralised services are being built to world- class standards. Over the next few months, the laying of storm water and sewer drains will continue with an emphasis in the Marina Dirstrict, Downtown and Avenue 3. Laying of mains for water supply piping will continue in Eko Boulevard and Avenue 1.
Construction of the 15-floor Afren PLC building is well underway with at least 10 out of 15 levels built. It is one of the first buildings to rise in Eko Atlantic has been reserved by Afren PLC as the company’s headquarters in Lagos. The international energy company that has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2005 operates in 11 countries and is producing over 22,000 barrels of oil per day with the bulk of activities in Nigeria.
There are several other named and unnamed companies that will be taking up spaces at the city which is expected to be completed soon. The impacts of the city would be felt in various sectors including housing where over 20,000 units of residences would be constructed; similar plans exist for other sectors.
The story behind the project is best captioned in the words of the governor of Lagos state governor Raji Fashola.
He said: “While many may see only the civil works and engineering project and the sign of an emerging Eko Atlantic City project, I see much more than that.
“I see the symbol of man’s undying spirit in Lagos to conquer nature. This is because the ability of human civilisation to survive and prosper on this planet has been the story of the constant battle against nature. Many times over, the human spirit has triumphed. The symbols of that triumph are many across our planet.
“The airplane is one of them. The Panama Canal is yet another. The European Tunnel is another. The Pyramids of Egypt remain an intriguing model of global edifice that stands as brand testimony of the indefatigable depth of human capacity for survival.”
He however acknowledged that while there were several engineering feats, they were also regrettable failures elsewhere.
“After the initial human trial, nature fights back with devastating consequences sometimes for humanity,” he said.á