The Loss of Tarkwa Bay

Posted on January 28 2020 , at 02:08 am
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The Tarkwa Bay Beach is touted as one of the cleanest and most peaceful beaches in Lagos. A major tourist site that sees a lot of visits and offers a getaway from the hustle of Lagos, may no longer be available to the public. 

The Tarkwa Bay island beach has been in existence since 1960. On the outskirts of the island is a 110 year old Lighthouse on Lighthouse Beach.

 

The Lighthouse after which Lighthouse beach is named.

Tarkwa Bay has remained largely undeveloped in spite of its tourist attractions and the rate of development in other parts of the area. Opposite the bay is the Eko Atlantic Housing project. 

Tarkwa bay with Eko Atlantic on the horizon

There’s a community of people who live on the island. Occupations on the island include Fishing, Water transportation, Petty trading, Chalet Keepers,  Gardeners, Civil Servants, Oil Workers (NNPC), Vessel Workers, Canopy Rentals, Mini Restaurant / Bar Operators, Security Guards, Fashion Designers, Baggage Handlers, Craftsmen and general artisans.

A fisherman on Tarkwa bay

On January 21 2020,  officials of the Nigerian Navy stormed into the Tarkwa Bay community, firing shots into the air and gave the residents one hour to vacate the island. 

Soldiers on Tarkwa bay.
Photo – Pius Utomi Ekpei

The residents were being evicted on claims of vandalism and illegal drilling of pipelines. There were openly dug pits across the edge of the island, containing oil and water. Some reports say that the vandalism occurred off the island, but the residents did not report the illegal acts. 

Soldiers on Tarkwa bay.
Photo – Pius Utomi Ekpei

The Beach is only accessible by ferries and canoes, these poor residents had to quickly evacuate the island without having enough notice from the naval officers who chased them out. 

Displaced Tarkwa bay resident
Photo – Pius Utomi Ekpei

All these people have been displaced with no alternative source of accommodation or compensation provided by the government following the evacuation. This is an infringement of the basic rights of the residents. It is also against international treaties that Nigeria has agreed to be bound by. 

Residents of Tarkwa Bay left stranded with their belongings
Photo – Pius Utomi Ekpei
Displaced residents of Tarkwa Bay with their belongings.
Photo – Omoregie Osakpolor

The beautiful island of Tarkwa bay that has been a favourite getaway spot for many Lagosians will no longer be available for the public. 

Surfers in Tarkwa bay.
Photo – Alan van Gysen

These people lost not only their homes but also their means of livelihood. Those who were fishermen have lost access to the water. 

Photo – Alan van Gysen

The Tarkwa Bay beach is not the first to suffer this kind of illegal eviction, several other communities like this have been affected by the eviction actions of Nigerian Navy officials. 

 

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