This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen
Nigeria, one of the most polluted countries in the world, does not seem to be getting any greener. As a developing country, the focus of the government and its people is not generally on environmental protection, but more so on developing the economy enough to get the 39% of the country below the poverty line ($1.90/day) above it. One would hope that moving forward, Nigeria could attempt to sustainably develop its economy with one eye on ensuring the safety of the environment. However, this is not really the case as many cities in Nigeria do not even have official city plans, let alone have any mention of climate responsibility. Most Nigerian cities have no master plans and those that have are not being implemented to the letters. Thus, there really aren’t any current cities in Nigeria to model as the “Best Climate Practice City”.
Moving forward, the attitude in Nigeria needs to shift towards building sustainable cities. Nigeria has one of the fastest growing populations in the world. It is even expected to become the third most populous country in the world, behind India and China, by 2050. With a lot of this growth, many Nigerian cities are going to grow into “mega-cities,” meaning that Lagos will not be the only large city in the country. Nigeria needs to work to implement sustainable policies and infrastructure to match this drastic increase in growth.
As mentioned earlier, there are no current cities to name as the “Best Climate Practice City” in Nigeria. However, construction is currently under way to build Eko Atlantic City, a planned city right off the coast of Lagos with a focus on being green and sustainable. At least it is a small step forward in the right direction for a country that has so little focus on climate responsibility.
Eko Atlantic City is being constructed on reclaimed land from the Atlantic Ocean and is anticipated to have at least 250,000 residents and an additional 150,000 flow of daily commuters. One of the main reasons for it being built is to help stop the erosion of Lagos’ coastline. However, the project has already received many complaints from locals stating that it has been doing the opposite as the project has directly led to many ocean surges and floods. In one instance, a surge in August of 2012 led to several people getting swept out to sea and a few deaths. Although the city is supposed to be benefiting the environment, it does not look like it is doing so. The city is supposedly going to have its own independent, reliable, and green electricity system. It is also going to have clean water utility services. On paper, Eko Atlantic City is supposed to become a sustainably driven city that is “a testament to the rise of Nigeria on the world stage.” However, the government has nothing to show for all the money they have invested in it.
To be frank, Eko Atlantic City is a waste of time, money, and lives. The idea of having a sustainable city built in Nigeria is a good one, but it should not be done in this way. The money should be invested into developing sustainable infrastructure in these soon to be mega cities. Eko Atlantic City is all for show and not actually helping solve the problem of the climate crisis and the drastic increase in population in Nigeria.
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Image source: ekoatlantic