President Goodluck Jonathan who flagged off the actual construction of the multi-billion Naira City last week, told the audience who gathered at the 5,000,000 square metres parcel of land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, that the city is the biggest civil engineering project in Africa. But the President was quick to point out that he was corrected by Mr Ronald Chagoury, the Executive Chairman of the Eko Atlantic, who informed him that the project is actually the biggest ongoing civil engineering scheme in the world.
Speaking before laying a stone to dedicate the 5,000,000 square metres of reclaimed land, the president unveiled plans by the Federal Government to build a Centenary city in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja while there will be model towns around all major airports in the country.
The President disclosed that the scheme will take off with the development of major towns around the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja and the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. The airports at Kano, Port-Harcourt and Kaduna will also benefit from the scheme but at a later date.
The president who noted the co-relation between a well planned environment and good quality of life, however identified obstacles hindering effective and sustainable housing development in the country. These include access to housing finance, lack of property titling and high cost of building materials
Also speaking at the ceremony, former US President, Mr. Bill Clinton whose Foundation –Bill Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, lent support to the development of Eko Atlantic City, noted that in a few years from now, tourists will be visiting Lagos to behold the amazing Great Wall erected to check the rampaging ocean.
Mr. Clinton who said he is in the forefront of ongoing efforts to reduce the adverse effects of climate He also commended the Chagoury brothers for embarking upon the massive scheme.
An elated Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola described the project as a symbol of man’s undying spirit to conquer nature. He paid tribute to his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who in a bid to find lasting solution to the erosion at the Bar-Beach, decided to partner with the developers to build a model city on land reclaimed from the Atlantic ocean.
Fashola who recalled the dark days when the entire Victoria Island was at the verge of being consumed by the ocean, explained that with the current development which has forced the ocean to its original place, property values in the Island have risen and people are no longer scared of investing in the area.
The Executive Chairman of Eko Atlantic, Mr. Ronald Chagoury said the Great Wall of Lagos which can withstand the worst storm, was erected to protect the city and the entire Victoria Island from the ravages of the ocean.
Eminent Nigeria’s who attended the dedication ceremony included former governors of Lagos State -Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Also in attendance were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, members of the Federal executive council and captains of industry like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Akintola Williams, Oba Otudeko and Alhaji Femi Okunnu.