Alpha Beach - Lagos - Nigeria
Alpha Beach is located in a community called Okun Alfa.
Okun Alfa is a coastal community located in Lagos, South-West Nigeria, on the coastline by the Atlantic Ocean. The Aworis’ are believed to be the first settlers of the area.
Located 15 minutes off Lekki-Epe, the major Lagos expressway, Alpha Beach was, until recently, a popular destination for many Lagos residents – one of the cheaper and more accessible beaches for people in Nigeria’s booming capital looking to get away. Today, however, many of the businesses catering for tourists and beachgoers have been literally washed away, as Okun Alfa has seen shoreline erosion and ocean surges destroy everything from buildings to roads to electricity poles.
Three times in the past 15 years flood waters have destroyed many of the community’s structures. Each time the community rebuilds. Many now call this the city’s “fourth incarnation” – and they expect a fourth flood, too. The municipality’s low-lying elevation – it is just 15 metres above sea level on average – makes it particularly vulnerable, and residents say they aren’t sure how much longer Okun Alfa itself will exist.
With a sense of despair setting in, last year the residents decided to bring in the services of Yeye Asimolowo Ganiyat, a priestess of the Yoruba deity Osun. She and the community have agreed to conduct a weekly procession through the town with a cow, ending at the ocean, where the animal is sacrificed.
The turn to religion is perhaps not surprising given that the people here have spent decades badgering government officials to address the threat of the rising sea, to no avail. Time after time, government hopefuls use the crisis as a way to gain votes – and then do nothing.