The story of one of the most ambitious, privatised cities in West Africa, which involves dredging sand to build 10 square kilometres of land off the coast of Lagos.
The story of one of the most ambitious, privatised cities in West Africa, which involves dredging up millions of tons of sand to build 10 square kilometres of land off the coast of Lagos.
Reporters Katie Jane Fernelius and Ishan Thakore look at Eko Atlantic City, a city with its own private electricity, water supply and sewage system that works to make Lagos the Dubai of Africa, and fight coastal erosion. But the construction of the city displaced the residents and patrons of what remained of Bar Beach, a neighbourhood that is tangled up in the history of Lagos. At one time it was a popular destination for Sunday picnics, the setting for variety television shows, a place where criminals were publicly executed by firing squad and is still a place of worship for Pentecostal Nigerians.
Bar Beach had been eroded by the ocean for years – the small area that remained was nevertheless home to tens of thousands who lived on plank houses on the water. In 2008, with one day’s notice, residents say police evicted them with tear gas and fire. That same year, a famous developer broke ground on Eko Atlantic City.
The developers claim that they offer a vision for the future of Lagos. But those evicted, who are among the 14 million urban poor in the African megacity, worry that they won’t be included in that future.