A human rights group, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP has asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to halt the ongoing dredging of the Atlantic Ocean by the Lagos State Government and some private investors.
Lagos State Government, in partnership with some private investors, had embarked on the Atlantic Ocean dredging to create the Eko Atlantic City.
The Eko Atlantic City, largely owned by a consortium of foreign companies, involves deep dredging of the Atlantic Ocean and construction of high-rise commercial and residential buildings on the recovered shores of Bar Beach, Kuramo Beach and Victoria Island, Lagos.
LEDAP, which claimed that the project was being embarked upon without a prior Environmental Impact Assessment, said it was afraid that the dredging of the Atlantic Ocean would lead to flooding and overflowing of the coastal environment and the rural communities along the banks of the ocean in the nearest future.
In its suit, which has yet to be slated for hearing, the group claimed that if the project was not halted, the environmental safety of the communities along the coastal banks of the Atlantic Ocean would be in jeopardy.
It claimed that the project would have a destructive impact on “the aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters and the environment of the coastal communities including Victoria Island, Lekki Peninsula and several fishing settlements on the west coast of the ocean.”
It said, “The dredging of the ocean and construction of buildings on the reclaimed land under the Eko Atlantic City will not only flood the coastal areas in coming years, but will destroy aquatic life in the entire Nigerian territorial waters of the ocean including fishes and animals, thereby negatively affecting the rich ecosystem of the ocean, the Lagoon and adjourning rivers, swamps and wetland of the country.
“Most of the rural fishing communities who depend on the ocean and surrounding waters for livelihood will be utterly displaced and impoverished.”
Among others, the group is seeking an order mandating the Lagos State government and South Energy Limited to adequately resettle all the communities on the coastal banks that are already affected or likely to be affected by the ongoing dredging.
The plaintiff is also asking an order compelling the defendants to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Assessment of the project as required by law before going ahead with the project.