News Stories in 2nd Quarter 2007 Edition of DDH Magazine
BAR BEACH RECLAMATION: ALL EYES ON LAGOS GOVERNMENT.
Commissioning what it called the first phase of the Lagos Bar Beach reclamation project in Lagos last month, Lagos State Government officials rolled out an even more gigantic plan – what they called “…the permanent solution to the erosion problem of the (Victoria) Bar Beach and the reclamation and development of the beach to a multi-purpose tourist gateway”.
To many observers however what has been done so far may not be too far from a (political) window dressing of the ability of the Lagos State Government to put the beach to some good use. It is confounding that even after the first phase of the project which is supposed to mount shore protection, a large part of the beach is still wide open to the sea. Why is a fragment of the waterfront given shore-protection while leaving the rest wholly unprotected? But not much is known about the overall plans of the Lagos State Government, except for the speech given by its Commissioner for Housing who also doubles as the managing director of the Lagos State Waterfront and Tourism Development Corporation, Prince Adesegun Oniru.
He said the Lagos State Government will henceforth embark upon the second and third phases of the project which are reclamation and development into a multipurpose tourist attraction. Structures in view, according to his speech, include hotel and accommodation of all categories, amusement and theme parks, water-based sporting facilities, ferry boat landing and craft mooring basins, a helipad and shopping and office complex.
This is one project within the Nigerian nation that definitely requires some expatriate expertise as the volume of sand and the nature of dredging that is required is way beyond the capacity of most indigenous dredging outfits. At the inception of the project, talk of some Dutch consultants to partner with local contractors were rife but all through the project duration, mainly workers of Hitech construction company were visible.
The incoming Lagos State administration, if it wants to embark upon this project with more credibility will need to employ a lot more transparency and openness in the contract award and bid process than has been done so far. Lagos is cosmopolitan city and conspicuous public works of the nature and size of the Bar Beach better be seen as managed with due diligence, corporate governance and international best practices. The world is watching.