Work Begins on Africa’s First Smart City, IIBC

Last weekend, prospective investors, stakeholders, built and construction stakeholders, government officials, operators in the financial sector and other Nigerians, converged on Ikate-Elegushi, Lagos, to witness the beginning of dredging of the Lagos Lagoon.

The dredging signalled the commencement of construction work on the Imperial International Business City (IIBC), a multi-billion naira project, in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, promoted by the Elegushi Royal Family (ERF) and Messrs ChannelDrill Resources Limited, a real estate developer. The IIBC,  planned to be built as the truly first smart city in Africa, has been described as a smart and eco-friendly city, which will redefine the standard of urban development in Africa.

The IIBC is a city to be built from the scratch, and is said to be the next big thing after the Eko Atlantic City, but only in terms of size. For instance, it is envisaged to be a city with distinct zones and building regulations, with each zone having low, medium and high-density areas with water view. The city will be 3.5 metres above sea level, in spite of the fact that studies have shown that over the next 75 years the Lagoon will not rise beyond one metre.

Some of the zones already identified in the city include the Marina West Zone, which will enjoy a cosmopolitan lifestyle with waterside dining and leisure; Marina East, built to have a community feel and Nigerian bohemian vibe; Imperial Gardens West, touted as a neighbourhood centre and located in a botanical setting with key viewpoints; Imperial Gardens East, a quiet residential neighbourhood; Imperial Beach, an exclusive residential neighbourhood, which will offer residents coastal living; Kings Island, to be built as an exclusive private island, and Park Avenue, a formal arrangement lining a tropical green boulevard.

Presenting the IIBC concept, described as a destination for regional and international business to the public, ChannelDrill’s Managing Director Mr. Femi Akioye said the term smart city, has been abused in the Nigerian property sector, as it often represents unfulfilled promises. He blamed it on the proverbial ‘Nigerian factor’, which ab initio plagues the planning and design schemes of newly-developed communities, thereby making living, working, and playing in such developments, at best, sub-optimal.

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Akioye said the IIBC as a smart city, is “an Integrated city because it combines the features of a ”Green City”, designed with environmental impact consideration. “The ocean doesn’t hide its nature; the Lagoon is a fox. The Lagoon will rise in the next few years, but we are building for the future. We can safely say that IIBC is going to be a flood free city for at least 75 years.  It is also the only island that has more than one entry point. Our roads are designed to make sure that crippling traffic will never occur in IIBC,” Akioye assured.

Taking investors through the project, Akioye said on electricity, IIBC comes with an independent power plant (IPP) to ensure that it does not only enjoy stable power supply, but will also use clean energy supply. The IPP will also make the city to be self- sustaining. Besides,  IPP will ensure that there is no need for generators by residents, leading to clean city.

Also, there will be a waste treatment plant to be built on the Island, which will be producing methane that will be used for production of more electricity or cooking gas. “Electricity will be available on 24/7 basis; cooking gas will also be piped into each building thereby eliminating the use of gas cylinders in the city,” Akioye explained.

Shedding light on the power project within the development, Akioye explained that due to intermittent power supply, the developers have assumed that Lagos does not have the capacity to uptake the new demand levels of the island. “Therefore, a new intake substation on the Island would be supplied directly from an existing substation on the mainland via a subsea cable,” he said.

Akioye added that exhaust gasses from the generators used in the IPP will be treated by a dedicated gas cleaning plant to ensure that fumes released into the atmosphere complies with the exhaust of generators with international standards; secondary power will be generated by alternative sources such as waste to power plants, while the fuel, which is liquefied natural gas (LNG), will be supplied to the city via barges. “Fuel will be pumped into bulk fuel storage bays via pipelines from the coast. Bulk storage feeds into a treatment plant before entering generator supply streams,” he explained. Infrastructure development in the city is being handled by Mott MacDonald Limited, London, United Kingdom (UK).

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ChannelDrill Chairman, Mr. Emeka Ndu, is also of the view that his firm believed that the “Nigerian factor” can be one that speaks excellence, which is why the firm is now telling a new story- a happy story of Nigeria and in Nigeria.

“Our IIBC story tells of how through thorough and meticulous design, uncompromising vision and latest technology. We are solving the challenges we face in our societies. We are solving these challenges in a technologically smart, environmentally friendly, and socially sustainable manner. The old story tells of the challenges of unanticipated floods, unnerving traffic, unstable power, unmanaged waste, and unavailable ICT.  But our story tells of how all of these challenges have been solved in the Imperial International Business City. Our story tells of details, of care, of passion, of love, of devotion. A devotion to excellence. A devotion that never ends,”he said.

Elegushi family head, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi, the IIBC project becomes imperative, considering that with the rising population of Lagos State, and in view of the fact that land is fixed in supply, the family thought it is necessary to contribute to the accommodation needs of the people.

“Besides, this is a legacy, not necessarily for making money. We have travelled all over the world and we see the infrastructural wonders in all those places. Then, I asked myself, is it a curse that balckman cannot do something better? That was part of the reason for conceiving the project. Initially, it was like a dream, but we thank God, it has become a reality”, said Oba Elegushi.

General Manager, Dredging International Services Limited, Mr. Stefan Van Velthoven, consultant handling the reclamation work, also allayed the fear of flooding in the IIBC, considering that flooding has been a regular occurrence in the Lekki axis.

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According to him, the scenario has been played out at the preliminary stage of planning to ensure the safety, serenity and comfort planned for the IIBC. “We have been collaborating with Channeldrill Resources to ensure that nothing untoward happens in the future. We have set 3.5 metre above the sea level and we had already mobilised to site equipment to commence the first phase of sandfilling, which is about 100 hectares  and within the next one year, we will complete the second phase,” he said.

With an area of 200 hectares, IIBC will be zoned into residential, mixed use and commercial areas. Each zone will have low, medium and high density area, each zone will also be divided into inner city, water ways view and Lagoon view areas.

The projects topwaterways, underground drainage, sewage, water and water treatment plant, Independent electricity ( Gas Generated), fiber optics cable, cloud enabled communication network and smart city/house infrastructure for willing subscribers, a mini marina, first smart shopping mall in Africa, cloud enabled 24 hours spy eyed security connected to a central security center, world class hospital within a dedicated healthcare zone.

Access roads to the new city are currently three and they are Freedom Road through Lekki Phase 1 (Lekki Third Roundabout), Kunsenla Road by 4th Roundabout off Lekki-Epe highway, Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi road by SPAR supermarket before Jakande. Other access roads will be through Femi Okunnu and Jakande roundabout in the future.

Land will be sold at plot sizes of 650 square metres, 800 square metres, 1000 square metres and 1200 square metres. Buyers will get a contract of sale documents immediately payment is confirmed.

Source: The Nation



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