Since the commencement of massive sand filling at Bar Beach waterfront ahead of the sculpturing of the multi-billion naira Eko Atlantic City by a foreign group which it to operate a 75 year franchise from the Lagos State Government, local downtown communities stretching southwards of the project said that they have noticed an increase in ocean surges and coastal erosion.
They also claim to have lost property and had been displaced as a result of the new sea city. Reliving their experiences at a recent stakeholders summit bordering on the efficacy and sustainability of the EAC in Lagos organized by the Heinrich BÃ¶ll Stiftung Foundation, a consortium of residents living in Lekki, Victoria Island and environs presented similar accounts of how their houses have come under serious threats of sudden ocean surge traced to the on going project at Bar Beach waterfront.
Chairperson, Ocean Surge Committee, Goshen Estate Residents, Gbenga Okunsanya, Alpha beach resident, Mr. Azuka Ezemakam, representatives from Victoria Island, Lekki, and other residential developments along the Lekki - Epe Expressway jointly expressed apprehension on the safety of their houses, investments and environment.
Apart from the experiences and views of core residents on the corridor, environmentalists who gathered at the one-day roundtable discussion on climate change adaptation argued that the Atlantic coast of the West African countries had been long exposed to erosion for a number of years.
They further submitted that even Lagos, the biggest city along the coast, currently experiences regular flooding especially in areas lying below sea level, whilst the coast line gradually loses land to the sea. They traced the growing cases of vessels being washed ashore as signs of land loss to sea erosion.
Many professionals at the forum decried the veiled nature of the purported Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the scheme, saying it ought to have been done and presently ahead of resumption of sandfilling, adding that access to the said document was virtually impossible and as such experts had on picture of associated impacts and preferred mitigate solutions.
In the views of a geographer and international consultant on climate change, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, there was a need to undertake sea-level rise risk assessment that would model the predicted sea-level changes in a range of scenarios including "time series, incremental climate change, shear events and storm frequency and intensity".
Making his presentation on the 'Imperative for Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment for the Development of Lagos Coastline; The Eko Atlantic Project' and other Federal/State Projects along the Lagos coast submitted that "the best adaptation measures should include a combination of responses - Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), as it considers over the long term to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics".
"ICZM enables decision makers to choose between the range of options available when responding to sea-level rise and how to prevent piece-meal reactions that compound the problem. We need joined-up, coordinated thinking and action by all the interested and affected parties.
Environmental experts who relied on the unusual erosion caused by stonewalls built by the British in the early twentieth century to allow smooth passage to the harbour feared what may come out of the EAC on final delivery.