By Kingsley Adegboye
Eko Atlantic City, a modern city being built on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Lagos has been described as a great opportunity for British businesses to thrive in Nigeria. British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, stated this during a tour of the multI-billion dollars project site by a trade delegation of the British Prime Minister last week. The delegation was led by John Howell, a Member of Parliament and British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria.
Arkwright said he was amazed by the sheer size and ambition of the project which has replaced land that has been lost due to coastal erosion, pointing out that “I look forward to seeing the city developed and become a home to British business. I am also surprised by how much development has taken place since I was last here, most roads have been constructed with numerous buildings nearing completion. Eko Atlantic is a wonderful opportunity for British business to make a difference in Nigeria”.
In his own comments, Howell described the project as an amazing feat of engineering, and commended the handlers of the multi-billion dollars project, South Energyx Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Chagoury Group for the ambitious work being undertaken.
According to him, the project is a hugely innovative and exciting one for Nigeria, stressing that “I look forward to future discussions on the ways that UK businesses can facilitate the scale and ambition of this project in areas such as construction and retail”.
Other members of the UK team were Ahmed Bashir, Acting British Deputy High Commissioner; Laura Mackie, Executive Assistant, UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Nigeria; Wale Adebajo, British Deputy High Commission’s Press and BomaBeddie-Member, Executive Assistant, Acting British Deputy High Commissioner.
Briefing the delegation, the Development Director, South Energyx Nigeria Limited, Pierre Edde said that on completion, the City will be home to about 450,000 residents, providing office facilities for another 150,000 people, with commuter volume expected to exceed 300,000 people daily. In addition, he said, the new city will be totally self-sufficient and sustainable, generating its own power, clean water and advanced telecommunications facilities.
He pointed out that the project was designed to change the face of the Lagos coastline by permanently solving the problem of the incessant ocean surge that had threatened to overrun the Victoria Island area of the state. He described the project as an investors’ delight, with promise of quick return on investment. He urged investors, especially Nigerians in diaspora, to take the opportunity offered by this emerging city to increase their investment in Africa’s most populous nation.
According to him, upon completion, Eko Atlantic City will become Africa’s main business hub, with its Central Business District already positioned to become the new financial headquarters for Lagos and, indeed, the entire country.
Edde said the project is rapidly approaching completion and restated his company’s commitment to ensuring that the project is completed on schedule. He told the delegation that one of the first two residential buildings in the new city would be completed by the end of August, while the second would be ready before the end of the year, with the first office block set to be ready between September and October, 2016.