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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Lagos Govt., Netherlands partner on coastal zone management

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

Concerned by the need to ensure even development across Lagos, the State Government and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have signed a partnership to change the face of coastal zone management across Lagos.

The partnership between the state government and the Kingdom would ensure cooperation in water management, coastal protection, and sustainable development in the communities.

Partnership on coastal management in Lagos was revealed when a business delegation from the Netherlands, led by Consular General, Michel Deelen, visited the Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development (MWID).

During the visit recently, the delegation received by the Commissioner, Yacoob Alebiosu, were further exposed to Lagos coastal lines and the potentials available within the communities.

While addressing the delegation, Alebiosu, who expressed optimism on the partnership, emphasized the benefits that the Netherlands’ expertise in these areas would bring to Lagos’ waterfront infrastructure development.

Alebiosu hinted at ongoing conversations about projects for the region and expressed excitement about the partnership’s prospects as well as impact on coastal communities.

The commissioner anticipated the need for further discussions and a fruitful collaboration.

Lagos State has been grappling with coastal erosion, particularly in communities such as Idotun, Origanrigan, Olomowewe, Itoke, and Asoroko in Ibeju Lekki. In a previous visit, the commissioner noted that the state is actively working to counter this issue with the introduction of new and cost-effective technology used by various countries, including some in Africa.

He highlighted the state’s efforts to support communities along the coastline, acknowledging that while erosion is a natural occurrence, mitigation measures are essential.

Alebiosu maintained that reclamation and protection of coastal communities, although expensive, were priorities for the state government.

“We are looking at reclamation and protecting what is left of these villages, though it is very expensive, we have some groins around Okunde, known as the Great Wall, and aim to block these groins to relieve pressure in that area.

“However, we need to extend this from Alpha Beach to Ibeju Lekki, a 42km stretch requiring about 105 groins,” Alebiosu explained.

He further detailed the costs, stating, “More than a year ago, in February 2023, the cost of constructing a groin was about N12bn. The total coastline in Lagos is approximately 180km, which is substantial. If we are to address the entire stretch, the costs are significant. Nevertheless, we must be persistent in our efforts to protect the ancestral land and livelihoods of the affected communities.”

Alebiosu noted that the state is considering replenishment methods used in the Netherlands for long-term solutions. He stressed the importance of collaboration with the federal government and private sector in protecting the coastline.

“We have identified some African countries that have tackled similar challenges using better and cheaper groin technology. We are studying these methods and want to be thoroughly convinced before committing. We assure the affected communities that the solution is near and ask for their patience,” he assured.

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