An assessment panel, headed by the Honourable Minister of the Environment, Barrister Abdullahi Mohammed has considered an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Makoko, Lagos Reclamation Project being undertaken by FBT Coral Estate in conjunction with the Lagos State Government.
The event held recently at White House Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
Barrister Mohammed, who was represented at the event by a Deputy Director in the Ministry, Engineer Gomwalk Celestine stated that the project, which he said falls under the infrastructure sector of the economy, is aimed at securing and changing the aesthetics of all waterfront in Lagos State with a masterplan to reclaim 60 hectares of Makoko waterfront.
The purpose of the project, the Minister said, includes dredging and land reclamation of Makoko waterfront on the shoreline of Lagos Lagoon.
“The proposed dredging is a sub project under the constriction phase of FBT Coral Estate. Approximately 60 hectares of land will be reclaimed.
“To create large scale job for both skilled and unskilled labour amongst others. The details of the project and conceptual design/layout will be presented today,” he said.
The Minister stressed that the project is sited in an environmentally sensitive area, and that it follows that the location is very rich in “biodiversity and that the project will be associated with some significant environmental, social and health hazards that need to be carefully identified and adequately mitigated.”
He added that the primary responsibility of the EIA is to ensure adequate protection of the biophysical and social environment as well as the project:s sustainability.
“This is achieved through careful identification and prediction of potential and associated impacts, provision of appropriate mitigation measures to enhance the beneficial Impacts and avoid/minimise the negative ones.
“I therefore appeal to stakeholders here present to constructively participates in this meeting that provide meaningful contributions that will enrich the draft EIA report to National and International acceptable standard,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment represented by Mr. K.S.A Lasisi from the Ministry, told delegates from the Makoko community that the reclamation project would in no way hinder them from fishing which is their primary source of livelihood as there would be an expanse of water for fishing activity and also bring positive development to them.
“The 54.58 Hectares of land which will be reclaimed by Fbt Corals would provide alternative accommodation to the Makoko/Ilaje slum, the new Makoko Ilaje Estate would consist of infrastructure such as beautiful Landscape, Recreational Centres, Hospitals, Schools, Water Plant Sewage System Treatment, Electricity, Fuel Station and Hotels among others”.
FBT Coral Estate team was led by Mr. Femi Adelaja.
Presenting the history of the project, Mr. Tunji Adejumo of FBT Coral Estate, said that it was initially meant to be about 200 hectares of land, but that it was reduced to 60.
Adejumo said that Nigeria has 20 million housing deficit.
He then presented a complete analysis of the project including vegetation assessment, community expectations amongst others.
The Co-ordinator of the event, Professor Suleiman Sadiku from the Federal University of Agriculture, Minna, Niger State, said that the agreement should be committal and alleviate the sufferings of the people, saying that housing is a laudable project.
Sadiku stated that the project must work as it is good for the community, the state and the country.
He said that the panelists would tour the project site being undertaken by FBT Coral Estate in Makoko to be sure that the proper thing is done.
“We are all witnesses to the flood in our country recently and coastal settlements would be at the receiving end. You can only cheat the environment for a while.
“We should be careful with what we do at the coastal areas. With flood, nature is trying to restore balance, but we wish the project all the best,” he said.
Some of the stakeholders at the event including Baales, youths, community leaders, and residents urged the state and federal governments to carry them along in the scheme of things as the project proceeds.
A stakeholder and market leader in the area, Mr. Ayinde Joseph, said that Makoko, Iwaya and Waterfront are highly populated.
Joseph added that most of the residents of the area have PVCs and that they are basically fishermen.
He urged the government to carry them along in the scheme of things, while promising that they are ready to support the government.
Another stakeholder, Chief Musa Abraham from Shogunro said that it is a government project and that it is to the benefit of the people.
Hon. Hatpe Emmanuel, also from the area, said that they have been attending several meetings called by Mr. Femi Adelaja of FBT Coral Estate, but that the issue of agreement should be sorted out soon.
“We are ready for development and we thank our lawyer, Mr. Felix Mouka for standing by us. We will not fight the government, but they should carry us along in whatever they do.
“We want proper documentation so that we can leave a legacy for our children. Mr. Femi Adelaja did not do anything without carrying us along. We support the project wholeheartedly,” he said.