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Environmentalists urge Nigerian government to learn from Makoko

“The only time we work together with the government is during voting.”

The Home of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, an ecological think-tank, has urged the Nigerian government to adopt and replicate the Makoko Floating School Model across all coastal communities as a climate change adaptation measure.

Nnimmo Bassey, HOMEF’s Executive Director, disclosed this, Friday, at the group’s 3rd Sustainability Academy held in Makoko, Lagos.

Mr. Bassey said that the Floating School teaches the lesson that our architecture must support our ways of life and be in sync with the rhythms of nature.

“The Nigerian and Lagos State government should commit to upgrade the Makoko communities and provide support for the communities by providing adequate health, educational and other services,” said Mr. Bassey.

“The community should also be protected from property and financial speculators as well as other disaster capitalists,” he added.

The Sustainability Academy, tagged ‘Turmoil in Africa: Uprising or Chaos?’ had held in Abuja and Ogoni during the week.
Firoze Manji, the host Instigator of the academy, highlighted the importance of connecting Makoko to other coastal communities in Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Durban.

“We are here to express solidarity with the people here,” said the Kenyan-born Mr. Manji, Director, ThoughtWorks, a pan African think-tank.

“Nigeria, the country with the highest GDP in Africa, allows her people to suffer. When you go along the water, you will see the high level of pollution. The people here need adequate health services,” Mr. Manji added.

The inhabitants of the community appealed to the Lagos State government to stop its eviction threats to the people of Makoko.

“We have nowhere else to go. Makoko is our home and we are going to remain here. We are not going anywhere,” said Christiana Adeyemi, an inhabitant of the community.

For Yusufu Agbelebu, the only time they have a cordial relationship with the government is during election campaigns.

“This community is where we find ourselves compatible all the time because we germinate from here. We live here like somebody living in Duplex, when they take light, you won’t know,” said Mr. Agbelebu, a community chief in Iwaya.

“The only time we work together with the government is during voting. What is the reason we cannot live in this community, a place where our fathers were born,” Mr. Agbelebu added.

HOMEF reiterated its calls for African leaders to ensure that the continent is not used as an arena for proxy wars by interests inimical to the well being of its environment and people.

“African governments must be primarily responsible and accountable to our people rather than to international financial institutions and to multinational corporations,” the group added.

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