Inside Eko Atlantic City: Africa’s Dubai

February 17, 2020 -

Eko Atlantic City, a 10 million square-metre city being built on the Atlantic Ocean along Ahmadu Bello Way in Victoria Island (VI) of Lagos State, is indeed a beautiful place. The city which is twice the size of VI has different types of property, especially high rise structures, springing up on the massive land.

The city which has continuously played host to the Lagos Marathon in the last five years is being referred to as the Dubai of Africa due to its attractions. When fully completed it will contribute about 10 per cent revenue to the budget of the Lagos State Government, in addition to tourism, employment and other services.

When completed, the city is expected to accommodate 250,000 residents and 400,000 people working in it.

The land on which Eko Atlantic City is situated 10 million square metres, with many facilities, including good road network, drainage, independent power, fresh air and a feeling of being in Dubai.

Daily Trust reporter recently went round the amazing city built on water and spoke to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Eko Development Company, Mr. Olawale Opayinka, and he gave an insight into the city.

Mr. Opayinka said, "Eko Atlantic City, Lagos, is a city which was created to protect the Victoria Island shoreline. Many decades ago, the Atlantic Ocean used to overflow Ahmadu Bello Way. When the water level rises, it used to cause flooding. "With the acceleration of the impact of climate change and the related environmental antecedents, if there was no way to curb the surge from the Atlantic Ocean, eventually, Victoria Island as we know it today would have been under a lot of threats. In mid-2000, discussions were held on how to protect VI and Lagos as a whole; that led to the idea to put a sea wall to the Atlantic Ocean. The sea wall today is about 1.3km away from Ahmadu Bello Way and it is 10 metres above sea level. The sea wall stretches about 8.5km out of which 6.5km is completed.” Lagos residents voiced their fear on building on the Atlantic. Little did they know that not just any building, but high-rise towers would be built on the land which was once part of the Atlantic Ocean.” Mr. Opayinka, a building expert insists there is no cause for alarm. He said, "There is a huge infrastructure in place to channel water, so water cannot be the problem. The floors in the towers within the city are so high that the fourth floor of a building in VI is the first floor of a building in the Atlantic City. The surge has never gone as high as a floor not to talk of climbing three floors. Every tower in the Phases 1 and 2 of the buildings in the city are going to be towers, and the first two floors are going to be for parking.” On what is so special about the much talked about Atlantic City, Opayinka explained that, "There is a significant amount of every basic infrastructure in the city. There is an area where independent power will be generated to the whole city. There will be state-of-the art drainage system, any ocean water that comes into the city will have a comprehensive network to ensure all waters are drained out. State-of-the-art fibre optic cables have gone throughout the city already and the roads and bridges are in place too. When you build towers, roads and other infrastructure, maintenance is an issue, and we have systems in place to ensure it is well maintained. We are building towers and infrastructure that will serve many decades.” Considering the rate of building collapse in Nigeria, he noted that, "Everything used in making the towers is pure concrete. The builders of this city have built many places such as the National Assembly, Eko Hotel, Lagos Continental Hotel, among others, and such buildings are still standing.” He emphasised that Eko Atlantic would be the new financial centre of West Africa because, "when it matures, it will contribute a billion dollars in a year. Many financial institutions, capital houses, merchant banks and microfinance institutions across Africa and West Africa will be in the city.” One of the towers in the city, Eko Pearl, has been completed and people are already living in it. Another tower which is yet to be completed is the Azuri Towers, where there are three towers on a footprint of 13,500 meters with five concrete flooring. Opayinka said, "In Azuri Towers, affordable and expensive luxury is being built, basically the kind of life people want to buy in Dubai. It is located in the most dynamic part of the city. Out of the three towers, there is one office and two residential buildings.” According to the CEO, Azuri 1, an iconic building, is the tallest residential tower in Nigeria and West Africa and the second tallest in Africa. The 33-floor building has a height of 145 meters. The Azuri 2, a 29-storey building, is also one of the tallest residential buildings in Africa, while the Azuri offices is 32 floors. When completed, 130 families will be living in the tower. At the moment, the towers have generated employment for over 270 people and are expected to be completed in December, 2021. "The towers will draw people to the city and this will make tourism thrive as it offers people the opportunity to live, work and play,” he said. He further explained that Azuri Towers had 18 lifts with facilities such as a gym, shopping mall, squash court, Olympic size 50m swimming pool, spa, restaurants high security, four floors of parking, clean air, among other attractions. "Our plan is to ensure the third and fourth generations of Nigerians can live in the towers we are building now. Our consideration is that the structures here should endure for 150 to 200 years,” he said.