Lagos, Nigeria - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, former US President Bill Clinton and the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, were on hand Thursday at the dedication of the new 5-million-square-metre Eko Atlantic City in Nigeria's economic nerve centre of Lagos.
When completed, the city, near the popular Lagos Bar Beach, will be the first modern smart city in Africa to be built on reclaimed land from the Atlantic Ocean. The first phase of the project will be completed in 2016.
Promoters of the project said about 250,000 people will live and work there, while 150,000 will commute daily to the city.
It will provide world class infrastructure, shopping malls, schools, financial houses and hospitals, among others.
Speaking when he laid the foundation stone of the city, President Jonathan said: 'We are quite pleased with this project because when completed, it will promote tourism and investments, and transform land lost to erosion.”
President Jonathan described the projects as the biggest civil engineering job in Africa and indeed the the world, stressing that the administration was proud of it, as will help in the transformation agenda of the government in creating jobs.
PANA reports that former US President Clinton, captains of industries, foreign investors and members of the diplomatic community were part of the elitist crowd at the dedication.
“Nigeria is a great nation. Building a city of this calibre can only be achieved by putting our hands together. Today, we are at a turning point where the real construction of the city has started,' said the Executive Chairman of the Eko Atlantic City, Ronald Chagoury.
While describing the project as an ingenious engineering piece, Clinton commended the efforts of the promoters and all involved in the development of the project.
“I am honoured to be here for many reasons -- because of the of dedication of the Chagouri’s to the project. No one in the world can solve all the problem in the world. I want to thank the Chagouris for their spirit of commitment to the project, It will help boost the economy in Nigeria and provide a lot of opportunities. In the next few years, people will be here to see the great city wall that will be build around the city”, Clinton added.
The Chagouri brothers are the main promoters of the multi-billion-naira project in conjunction with local and foreign financial institutions.
The host Governor. Mr. Fashola, said the Eko Atlantic City was a good example of the ingenuity of man to conquer nature.
He said before the reclamation of the land, the highbrow nearby Victoria Island was usually submerged from coastal erosion and flooding, adding, however, that with the ongoing work, the problem has been drastically reduced.