The Lagos State Government is to spend a whopping N27 billion to protect choice properties lined along its restive Atlantic Ocean shoreline from Oniru Estate to Alpha Beach area within the next three years.
Over the years, extensive ocean surge and coastal erosion have collaborated to wash away acres of coastal land, threatening the array of real estate and tourism/hospitality functions close by.
But Governor Babatunde Fashola, in a presentation on Wednesday in Victoria Island while officially opening the state’s 5th Climate Change Summit, said the authorities have so far committed about N6 billion to the project that is already ongoing. He added that the initiative is aimed at finding a lasting solution to the frequent ocean surge and protect the state’s shoreline from being washed away.
Recalling the ocean surge that hit Kuramo Beach last year, he said that government was taken unawares, as there was no budgetary provision to mitigate its effects.
“In the implementation of last year’s budget, we did not conceive that the uncompleted part of the Eko Atlantic City would be overrun by the ocean. The Kuramo surge late last year came and took away walls of properties from the end of Ahmadu Bello Way, right down to Alpha Beach,” he said.
The governor called for a change of attitude in the way things are presently being done so as to protect the planet. According to him, the cost of adapting to the challenge is huge.
Fashola said climate change is not new but that what is new about it is the knowledge. He stated that modern trends such as innovations in air transportation and air conditioning interfere with nature.
“We must slow down some things. It requires all of us to be flexible to protect our houses and the entire planet.
The governor described the Eko Atlantic City project one of the adaptation and mitigation programmes of the government to protect properties and inject fresh life into Victoria Island.
He noted that government had consistently hosted the climate change summit in the past couple of years as part of its commitment to continuously break new grounds in order to save mother earth from further destruction from the scourge of climate change.
Fashola went further: “These summits have availed us great opportunity to share experiences and better practices to the transboundary challenges that require our collective effort. The deliberations have impacted on our policies and have contributed a great deal to our efforts at achieving a sustainable environment in our state.”
Environment Commissioner, Tunji Bello, described this year’s summit as a continuation of the review of the vulnerability and adaptability of various sectors to climate change in the state, which commenced at the last event when focus was on agriculture, industry and the health sectors.
This year’s forum examined transportation, housing and infrastructure. Bello said the issues are in tune with the policy thrust of the present administration.
He said: “There is no gainsaying that climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time. Receding forests, changing rainfall patterns and rising sea levels have exacerbated existing economic, political and humanitarian stresses, thereby affecting human development in all parts of the world.”
The British Deputy High Commission to Nigeria, Peter Carter, commended the Lagos State Government in her leadership role in the country to address the challenge of climate change. He declared Britain’s readiness to work with Lagos to address the climate change challenge.
Former Minister of Energy in Sierra Leone, Professor Ogunlade Davidson, in a lead paper, commended state officials and urged them to continue to devise means to mitigate and adapt to the climate scourge.