From Slum to Golden Horizons: Makoko’s Steady Transformation

In the heart of Lagos, where the skyline meets the shimmering waters, lies Makoko Community.

With a significant tale of resilience and transformation that transcends the ordinary, Makoko, once renowned for its obscurity in the shadows of slum life, has emerged and triumphed against adversity, casting its own golden horizons across the Lagos landscape.

From the challenges of displacement to the pressing issues of sanitation, vulnerability, and legal uncertainties, Makoko’s journey reflects a community’s unwavering spirit in the face of adversity.

This is the narrative of a community, where slum shadows fade, making way for a story of hopelessness to triumph that paints the skies with golden hues, marking the dawn of a new era for Lagos.

*The Origin of Makoko – A Fishing Village on the Edge of Progress*

Progress, recognition and transcendental transformation comes with dexterity and the consciousness to transcend every challenge that constitute drawbacks.

One of such communities is the Makoko, situated in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria. It was established in the 19th century as a small fishing village for immigrants who were looking to make a fresh start, has grown to become a sprawling waterfront Lagos community spanning several generations with its socially unique challenges.

*Threat to Gentrification and Dislocation*

With the proximity of Makoko very close to a commercially flourishing place as Victoria Island and Lekki, the place has always been under threat of dislocation. This has been accentuated with the rising value of lands at places like Victoria Island, gentrification and new real estate projects have hit the poor class population in Makoko hard. Their struggle to affirm the right to continue dwelling in this area which they have called home for six decades was climaxed by a government-ordered eviction in 2017.

*Problems Affecting Makoko and its Durable Occupy*

**1. Sanitation – Daily Struggle for Human Dignity**

All over, communal toilets are around 15 houses adding to unsanitary condition which further compounded by sewage, kitchen residues discharged along with various materials finding a way into waters below the houses. Around their homesteads.

**2. Vulnerability of climate change.**

Close proximity of the lagoon to the settlement means that the settlement is highly exposed and vulnerable to any in climatic condition and flooding. This bad state is further worsened as many dwellings in the area are precariously perched in the lagoon.

**3. Inadequate Accessibility of Clean Water**

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The challenge is escalated by the shortage of the water pipes and few hours of the day for access to supply in the first place. The queues every day are very long, and this poses a major problem that needed to be addressed since infrastructural improvement is essential for better service.

**4. Legal Rights – A Key Problem**

In Makoko, only 7% of the dwellers legally own the land where they stay. Coupled with inadequate legal securities, the nightmare is far worse.

**5. Variation in Health and Unemployment**

This further creates low life expectancies, where the inhabitants suffer from malaria, respiratory diseases, among others to malnutrition by children. Another prominent issue that haunts this urban community is unemployment. Fishermen, who are a massive part of this community demographic, are one section that desperately requires recovery from the problem.

*Makoko – A Tourist Haven Potential*

**1. Regeneration Plan of Urban Spaces Innovation**

Such would be the following plan for Makoko through the “Urban Spaces Innovation” initiative in collaboration between the local community, academics, NGOs, and international consultants. Particularly, this plan will provide a range of issues aiming to give a concept of sustainable development.

**2. Makoko is the Venice of Lagos**

Visiting Makoko could be likened to visiting Venice, Italy where visitors are treated to unique accommodations and move about with water-based transports. From the beautiful waterways to the depth of cultural heritage harboured in the community, Makoko could well stand out as another tourist destination everyone should visit.

*Appeal to the Government – Changing Makoko into a Golden City*

In order to look into how worthwhile this strong community is, we make this appeal to the government to look into the problems encountered in Makoko and its hidden potentials. The feature report seeks to bring out the journey of Makoko, which would encourage the government to move with purpose and resolve them. Through an investment towards sustainable development, the lives of people at Makoko would be transformed into an epitome of hope that could take the world by storm and inevitably guarantee a brighter future for its current generation as well as generations to come.

*This report is a group work by Theresa Moses, Sydney Okafor, Agukwe Chiamaka Lilian, Iyanda Ahmed and Muhammad Bashir Bolaji*

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