Increasingly, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State governor, appears to be bringing new vigour to his THEME agenda which includes protecting the environment as the policy direction of the new Commissioner for Waterfront Infrastructure Development, Dayo Alebiosu, suggests.
The Commissioner set himself the task of actual fieldwork by touring all waterfront projects along hundreds of kilometres of Lagos Coastline, taking with him the Permanent Secretary and all senior officials of the Ministry. In the course of the tour, he emphasised the need to protect the Waterfront of Lagos State from degradation and, indeed, enhance it by implementing quality projects.
On a recent visit to Gracefield Island, a new city reclamation and development project within the Lagos Lagoon, which sits two kilometres from the Chevron Shoreline, the Commissioner was surprised to discover that, at least, two new reclamation projects have just started close to the access road leading to Gracefield Island. His officials too expressed surprise, as none of them briefed the Commissioner on these new reclamation projects.
One in particular, going by the name Puckett Island, is carrying on in a way that gives the impression that they are connected to existing approved project. The Commissioner vowed to enforce the rule that prescribes a distance of, at least, 250 metres between one island and another, considering that the new reclamation projects can hardly be called islands.
He wondered how these other reclamation projects planned to drain their storm water and also how they would not impact on the environment. The Commissioner, therefore, immediately ordered that work should stop on Puckett Island until proper things were done.
The wider investing community finds the approach and determination of the new Commissioner reassuring, as he appears determined to protect the integrity of the Lagos Masterplan and projects such as Eko Atlantic, Gracefield Island and Ostia which are being implemented in accordance with the Masterplan and are set to lead the development of a new modern Waterfront District in Lagos State.
Operators within the waterfront development sector are of the view that the professional background of the Commissioner as an architect might be responsible for his determination to enthrone good order in the sector, coupled with a direct charge from Governor Sanwo-Olu.
According to the operator, whatever be the reasons, Lagos seems to be headed in the right direction at last, as the Commissioner promised to integrate regular site visit into his work schedule and commended partners of the state government such as Gracefield Island and Ostia.