According to Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, the Eko Atlantic City is an adaptation measure that would enable the Lagos coastline to regain what was lost to the sea. Also, a former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, described the project as a great economic delight that would attract tourists and investors to the country.
The project, which is styled after Manhattan City in the US, is expected to be home to about 250,000 residents. Great Wall barriers have been constructed to secure the city from sea level rise and coastal erosion.
At a recent workshop on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa held in Cameroon, experts gave their views on the Eko Atlantic City project.
In the view of Professor Liblief, it is a form of beach nourishment that is needed to save the Lagos coastline. He believes that if the Eko Atlantic City was not constructed the Bar Beach would have disappeared due to sea level rise that would increase shoreline erosion in the axis. Liblief said the government of Gabon was also doing a form of beach nourishment that would safeguard the coastal city from the impact of sea level rise.
According to him, if governments within the West Africa sub-region fail to collaborate and carry out a research on their coastline, many cities within the region would end up under water.
“There is an urgency to safeguard our coastal areas as studies have shown that the impact of climate change would increase in the coming years,” he said, calling for a continuous sediment supply along the coast of the Eko Atlantic City to keep it protected and to safeguard it from the impact of sea level rise.
Professor Michel Boko from Cotonou, Benin Republic, described the Eko Atlantic city project as enormous, but questioned the sustenance of the project. He believes the project may not be able to last longer than 10 years.
“Many African leaders come up with great ideas of projects and programmes but discipline and high level of maintenance is required to enable the people benefit from such. If it is in my country, I won’t allow such a project to take place,” he stressed.
He identified sand filling of wetlands as a challenge to flooding in most urban areas and called for protection of wetlands that serve as natural drainage during flooding.
Professor Godwin Aflakpui from Senegal said if the right research and simulation were carried out before the commencement of the Eko Atlantic City project, it may be worth an undertaken to protect the Lagos coastline. He cited the case of Keta Beach in Ghana that used to experience coastal erosion but, following a beach nourishment project, the Keta Beach and its environs as well as properties and human lives are now safe and protected.
By Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna