Eko Atlantic City: Why We Gave Concession for 78 Years-Prince Oniru

Lagos State (former) Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Hon. (Prince) Adesegun Oniru in this chat with FRANCIS OGBONNA discloses the agreement between South Energyx Nigeria Limited and why the project is viable. Excerpts…

Protection of Communities not provided for by the city’s great wall
The Eko Atlantic City (great wall) takes care of about 7.5km beginning from Bar Beach to just before it gets to Goshen Estate, Lekki. But like every responsible government, you can’t leave everywhere exposed because you see what happens when there is strong surge. So work is ongoing now and is being handled by a contractor, Hi-Tech.

About other waterfronts in the state
There are lots of development schemes ongoing simultaneously across the various waterfronts in the state; however the state government needs to channel its energy to areas where lands seem to be more available.

About possible land use tax waiver for the new city
The city (Eko Atlantic City) we are talking about is located in Lagos. There are rules and regulations that must be adhered to if you must live here, because that city is part of Lagos state, nothing will change. There is no concession whatsoever. For example, like it is obtainable everywhere in Lagos, if you want to build there you must pay for approval. The only difference is that the developer collects these funds on behalf of and remits it to the government. That is the agreement we had with SENL. There are other ways that the government generates revenue from the city just like anywhere else in the state. Lagos gets 5% the value of every allotted land and another 5% as consent fees.

On commencement of project before carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
That is completely wrong. For a project like that magnitude-spanning 10 million sq. metres, you don’t just do only one EIA. Nothing was fast-tracked. Royal Haskoning did the EIA in conjunction with Lagos Ministry of Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Lagos and Federal Ministry of Environment. Different town-meetings went on; I was chairman of those meetings. The last one was done around August 2013 and it held at Ocean view restaurant. The results were all submitted to the Federal Ministry of Environment, who looked at it critically and raised issues where necessary. Of course, if they had seen anything that would have been adverse to the environment, they wouldn’t have shut their eyes to it. They would have pointed it out and told us to go and correct it.