You see them every day, as you cross between mainland and island or even travel out to the outskirts of Lagos, miles and miles of pristine yellow beach sand.
This sand, while unassuming has borne a thriving industry of miners and itinerant dredgers for almost a century and served as the home for several hundred fishing communities strung like pearls across the coastlines.
But their idyllic lives have been threatened, by the very thing that should have made their lives better.
The aggressive campaign by the Lagos state government to urbanize the city and transform it into megacity status had resulted in some decision that skirts the line of ethical behaviour and sometimes tramples it all together.
The seaside communities of these sand mining towns have become a battleground, pitting indigenes fiercely proud of the lives they have built on these coasts and at one with the ocean that laps its shores and the sophistry of the government-backed gentrifiers who seek to grab their land, dredge it and transform what remains into luxury living spaces for expatriates and the Nigerian ultra elite.
This dredging while necessary to the growth of Lagos has been done with the brashness that has characterized the Ambode government.
The indigenes are losing, even though they have tried legal and illegal means to keep their land. And with their losses are coming avoidable deaths.
This is why YNaija commissioned journalist, Valentine Iwenwanne to go into the field to get an outsider’s perspective on the standoff going on between the government and the indigenes of these coastal towns and to document the very real consequences of a drive for development that doesn’t factor in community and sustainability.
The stories he uncovered featured corruption and unresponsive leaders, and hard-working citizens staring economic and social ruin in the face.
We publish Valentine’s findings as a two-part series, in line with our YNaija citizenship series, in the hopes that it will make real the real-time consequences of our the growth of our ‘ultramodern’ megacity..
With series like We Survived Boko Haram, Herdsmen Hazards, Blood Money, Beyond Biafra, Biafra’s Forgotten Soldiers, Seven Bloody Days of Summer, So you think you know Lagos and much more, we have shown a track record of bringing human angle stories that matter to the citizens.
Because we believe these stories should be told, we ask that you hear from “Dredging Towns; the coastal towns dying so Ambode’s megacity can live”.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.