Banana Island is the home of the rich and the powerful. It is where billionaires like Mike Adenuga have their abode in Lagos. It is also where the ultra rich like Sayyu Dantata, Kola Abiola and and celebrities like Linda Ikeji call home.
Apart from being the playground of the rich, Banana Island also has the distinction of being the first man-made “island” in Nigeria. Though it is called an island, it is technically a peninsula because it is joined with Ikoyi which is the other abode of billionaires and the ultra rich. It remains one of the most expensive neighborhood in the country.
Banana Island started life as a project called Lagoon City. It was the brainchild of the Late Chief Adebayo Adeleke, a University of London trained Civil Engineer (MICE). This project was subsequently taken over by Lagos State and thereafter the Federal Government. The project was completed in its current banana shape by the Lebanese-Nigerian Chagoury Group in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
Fast forward to present days. There are more than ten man-made “island” projects currently at various level of completion or on the drawing board. This includes names like Orange Island, Periwinkle Island, Diamond Island, OSTIA Island etc with the father of them all, the Eko Atlantic. With these many Island and reclamation development within a short period of time, can it be said that Lagos Island is “going bananas”?
Even though one can argue that much of the affluent parts of Lagos Island like Lekki Phase 1, VGC, Northern Foreshore, Nicon Estate are also man-made because they rose from swamps that were sandfilled. We will however limit our discussions to the ones that are obviously man-made.
Is this the best we can get in urban development innovations? With the high price tags of land in these developments, what is the plan for the less affluent? As these are only accessible to the very rich, do these development leave space for the common-man to enjoy the beautiful sceneries of the lagoon fronts? All year round good weather and beautiful lagoon waterfronts are potential tourism money spinner. But what do we have in Lagos? We see that private developments have largely taken over these waterfronts. Essentially, the commonwealth in form of water sceneries are being privatized, so only the affluent and powerful can enjoy them in their privacy. What is the end-game for these developments?