Mini-City to Transform Victoria Island, But What About the Rest of Lagos?

With sleek high-rises, a waterfront promenade, and yacht-filled marina, Eko Atlantic could help Lagos attract the world's elite. But when it isn't busy demolishing their homes, what is the government doing to improve poor residents' quality of life?

"The state government in Lagos recently released a short, slick video touting Lagos as 'Africa’s Big Apple' which features shots of the glitzy artificial city, known as Eko Atlantic. The video also shows a parade of fast boats, traffic-free roads, glamorous hotel pools, and clothing boutiques," writes Alexis Okeowo. "Eko Atlantic underscores the worry among some Lagosians that their government wants to protect only the city’s rich from rising sea levels."

When the government isn't busy touting its "mega-city dream", it's evicting residents of shantytowns such as Makoko and burning the homes of "a community that lived on the fringes of Bar Beach."   

“'The government has not done anything for us yet, so people are trying to improve the environment themselves, bettering their sanitation practices,' Afose Sulayman, a Makoko resident, said. Makoko’s residents lack access to clean water and endure endemic poverty. 'What people really want is the government to help them develop the community, instead of trying to take the land,' Sulayman added."

"Lagos, many say, has made progress in upgrading public services, roads, traffic lights, and green spaces, and is embarking on promising sustainable ventures," notes Okeowo. "Its new mini-city may be an example, attracting investment and tourism. But Victoria Island is only a fraction of the mushrooming metropolis. Will the rest of it be left behind?"



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