Group Demands Halt Of Eko Atlantic City Project

eko atlantic

By Abiose Adelaja Adams

The Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the on-going dredging of the Atlantic Ocean and the construction at the Eko Atlantic City initiated by the Lagos State government and private investors.

LEDAP, in a press statement on Tuesday signed by its national coordinator, Chino Obiagwu, alleged that the Eko Atlantic Project did not obtain any approved environmental impact assessment document as required by law.

It thus prayed the court to declare that the project was unlawful and contrary to the Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA Act of 1992.

“We are asking the court to issue an injunction restraining the defendants from continuing with the project until properly approved environmental impact assessment is conducted, through consultation with the coastal communities as required by law,” Obiagwu said.
LEDAP also said it wanted the court to order the Lagos State government and South Energyx Limited, lead investors in the project, to adequately resettle all the communities on the coastal banks that are already affected or are likely to be affected by the dredging.

Furthermore, the body alleged that the federal ministry of environment did not authorize the project because it has not issued the statutory environmental impact statement approving the dredging and building construction as required under the
EIA Act.

‎It added that continuing with the project will be detrimental to the environmental safety of communities along the coastal banks of the Atlantic Ocean and would also have destructive impact on the aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters and the environment of the coastal communities including Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula and several fishing settlements on the west coast of the ocean.

It was gathered that the Eko Atlantic City, also called the Great Wall of Lagos, developed by South Energyx Limited and other foreign companies, involves deep dredging of the Atlantic Ocean and construction of high-rise commercial and residential buildings on the recovered shores of Bar Beach, Kuramo beach and Victoria Island
Lagos.

The Lagos State government in a bid to protect the Bar Beach in Victoria Island from the effects of severe coastal erosion and to safeguard Victoria Island from the threat of flooding began the city’s construction in 2003.

It had since attracted a lot of international attention and is expected to accommodate about 250,000 people and serve as the workplace of another 150,000.

The ten square kilometre development will have waterfront areas, tree-lined streets, efficient transport systems and mixed-use plots that combine residential areas
with leisure facilities, offices and shops.
It was widely reported that the Lagos State government and South Energyx have already sold the future apartments and buildings in the new city, which runs into billions of naira.
LEDAP is however not amused by the general excitement.

It argued that under the EIA Act, any person undertaking such a project is required to undertake a detailed field assessment of its negative impact of on the environment, and in consultation with the affected communities, develop plans on how to ameliorate and solve the environmental problems.

“The dredging of the ocean and construction of buildings on the reclaimed land under
the Eko Atlantic City will not only flood the coastal areas in coming years, but will destroy aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters of the ocean including fishes and animals, thereby negatively affecting the rich ecosystem of the ocean, the Lagoon and adjourning rivers, swamps and wetland of the country,” LEDAP noted.

It said that most of the rural fishing communities that depend on the ocean and surrounding waters for livelihood would be utterly displaced and impoverished.

LEDAP said the initiators of the multi-billion naira project had not made any plan to take care of the environment of the coastal communities against the obvious consequences of displacement and dredging of the ocean.
“Already, many of the areas are over flooded from the dredging and construction
works,” it said.






     

     

    It said that it filed the suit following a series of unsuccessful requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 by LEDAP to Lagos State government and South Energyx Limited, demanding for details of environmental impact assessment conducted before embarking on the project.

    Recently, there was an ocean surge at Kuramo Beach, a neighbouring community, in 2012, which claimed many lives.

    While some environmentalists blamed it on the Atlantic City, others said it was a demonstration of the anger of the gods.

    No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.

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