With the higher rainfalls predicted for the year 2020, states in Nigeria may have to worry about something more serious than a flood – the erosion of the coastlines.
According to Mr Kabiru Abdullahi, Lagos State Commissioner for Water Front Infrastructure Development, the waves of currents from the ocean have become more violent, eroding the nation’s coastline and compounding environmental degradation, and flooding.
This development is already posing serious threats to several parts of Lagos state, which is known to be a coastal city.
According to NAN, the state government had already constructed 18 groins to wade off the violent currents from the oceans, but Abdullahi admitted that given the current situation, there is a need to construct at least 60 more groins.
These groins, he explained, would act as breakers, trapping sand from moving down the beaches.
What can N400 billion do to save the situation
Coastline erosion is a seasonal problem which will always occur when there is a rise in sea level, as is expected during the rainy season. If the government does not armour the shorelines with seawalls, jetties and groins, there could be more property and land losses.
According to the commissioner, N400 billion would be just enough to construct groins to cover another 60 kilometres in addition to the 7.2 kilometres done so far.
“On the Eko Atlantic City Project, so far, 18 groins have been constructed at 400 metres intervals covering a distance of about. We still have about 60 kilometres to go which is estimated to cost about N400 Billion,” he said.
The Ecological fund is an intervention fund set up by the Federal Government to address the various environmental challenges in communities across the country, but interestingly, the Lagos state government has not accessed any ecological fund on this project so far.
Lagos state budget for 2020 was put at N1.17 trillion with environment getting N66.586 billion of the sum. With this sum, there is no way the ministry of environment can take on the task of funding a N400 billion project on coastline and shoreline protection, and this is only one of the numerous environmental challenges the state has to deal with. The state budget has even been reviewed downwards in view of the COVID-19 induced economic challenges.
Illegal dredging activities and land reclamation for urban development are also creating serious environmental issues for Lagos and left on its own, and without intervention funding from the federal government, the coastline situation could be left to deteriorate even further with the onset of the rain
As the commissioner suggested, the federal government might want to consider allocating some of the “recently released tranche of Abacha loot of about $313 million” for this purpose, as it no doubt qualifies as a critical infrastructure for the country.