Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lagos needs N26bn to fight Ocean surge

Lagos needs N26bn to fight Ocean surge
Ayodele Samuel,Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola said the state will require about N26billion in the next three years geared towards finding a lasting solution to the frequent ocean surge as well as protecting the state's shoreline against over shooting its boundary in the nearest future.

Governor Fashola was speaking on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the 5

th Climate Change Summit held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Sharing his experience about the Kuramo ocean surge last year, he said the state government was taken unawares by the surge as there was no budget towards mitigating the effects and consequences of the surge in the 2012 fiscal budget of the government.

The Governor recounted, "In the implementation of last year's budget, we did not conceive that the uncompleted part of the Eko Atlantic City would be overrun by the ocean. The Kuramo surge late last year came and took away walls of properties from the end of Ahmadu Bello Way right down to Alpha Beach".

"We didn't budget for that, we didn't see it coming, but what did we do? In the last quarter of the year, we called all the departments together that everybody must contribute some capital votes so that can start an urgent protection of all of the properties on the road, right down to Alpha Beach".

He said the efforts of the state government has seen about N6billion committed to the protection of the shoreline so far, lamenting that the government is yet to receive any assistance from any quarters.

"But it gladdened my heart and I am sure I speak the minds of my colleagues when we went there last week and we saw that the shoreline that was already on the fence of those properties is now residing and giving residents a breather".

He said the Eko Atlantic City project has also contributed immensely to the protection of properties within the Victoria Island axis from being overtaken by the ocean, affirming that "If that project had not been started, we would not have been here today. Many of the houses that were abandoned and real estate have come back, jobs have returned to that coastline".

He said the Climate Change Summit was not another talk shop, but a sincere call for all to begin to adapt to the threats of climate change saying that natural disaster was fast killing more people than war"

He added that the focus has shifted from talking climate change to understanding the dangers and threats it poses.

He noted that man's quest for survival has distorted the course of nature and planet earth was gradually reaping the consequences.

"We are in a constant battle and nature will continue to fight back, we need to slow down and change the way we do some things, that's the heart of the adaptability and what this Summit addresses> Once we agree to slow down on some things, nature will also pull back".

Stressing that the state government has engineered policies on climate change mitigation and adaptation, he said over 1000 drainages spread across 24 local governments in the state were being cleared to reduce the incidence of flooding across the state during this year's rainy season.

In his welcome address, Commissioner for Environment, Tunji Bello said the previous summits have clearly shown the state's commitment to the development and evolvement of a climate change conscious society so as to lay the foundations necessary to counteract the prospective global threat.

He said this year's theme; "Vulnerability and Adaptability to Climate Change in Nigeria with particular focus on Transportation, Housing and Infrastructural Sectors of Lagos State" was apt for the present time.

He said the objectives of the summit will seek to promote and sustain an infrastructural system that is environmentally friendly and geared towards reduction in carbon emission.
Published in Peoples Daily Newspaper, 14 March 2013, Page 5

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