Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday said the State needed N27 billion for the protection of shorelines in the next three years as part of measures to find a lasting solution to the frequent ocean surge in the state.
While speaking at the opening ceremony of the fifth Climate Change Summit, in Lagos, themed: “Vulnerability and Adaptability to Climate Change in Nigeria with particular focus on Transportation, Housing and Infrastructural Sectors of Lagos State”, Fashola noted that the challenge of climate change “is the biggest war of our time as it has caused more devastations than wars.”
The governor said the state was taken unawares by the Kuramo ocean surge last year as there was no budget towards mitigating the effects and consequences of the surge in the 2012 fiscal budget of the government.
“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 surge. The Kuramo surge late last year came and took away walls of property 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 we can start an urgent protection of all of the property on the road, from Oniru Beach right down to Alpha Beach.”
The governor who noted that the state had spent about N6 billion for the protection of the shoreline so far, lamented that the government was yet to receive any assistance from any quarters, saying “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 also said the Eko Atlantic City project had contributed immensely to the protection of property in the Victoria Island axis from being overtaken by the ocean, noting 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.”
“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”.
In his presentation, Prof .Davidson Ogunlade, Former Minister for Energy, Sierra Leone, who gave the lead presentation at the occasion, faulted the continued flaring of gas in Nigeria.
According to him, flared gas greatly degrades the environment, suggesting the gas could be tapped to generate electricity and power other development projects.
Also speaking, Mr. Eze-Uche Ubani, House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Climate Change, called on the Federal Government to adopt and implement a Climate Change Policy.