Seven years ago, Abdulrahaman Ibrahim and his family had their dream home — a spacious home built by their hard-working migrant labourers on a low-lying Lagos Island known as “Lagos Island.”
After making good money in the cities of Chad and Sudan, the Alimis were poor—barely over $200 a month and no college degree. They had no money for other children’s college educations, and the youngest one was nearly illiterate. But by learning English, learning Mandarin, and cooking in the village for the first time, the family’s children earned lots of money.
In 2012, Mr. Ibrahim and his family bought that dream home, where he was forced to raise his infant son in a child-carrier. Then a giant tidal wave swept the entire neighborhood off its foundation.
Now, with six of his children dead and only two injured, Abdulrahaman and his wife, Farida, live alone with a healthy old goat in their ruined home.
“Without my children, I feel like I am alone in the world,” Mr. Ibrahim told the New York Times.
Abdulrahaman and Farida are one of a dwindling number of families living in the city of 1.2 million who have lost a home in a natural disaster. Due to global warming and poor drainage, Nigeria’s shoreline is rising at a rate of 0.4 inches a year, and Lagos is a city with a coastline that is constantly on the rise, taking with it the homes of those who live on it.
Mr. Ibrahim spent months waiting for help in a casualty center. In September, Nigeria’s federal government bought the family’s home and transferred it to an unknown site, leaving them with nothing.
As the culprit for the rise of the sea, oil does have an effect, just not the kind that many people are warned of. Oil contributes to sinking land on which oil can be buried and thus increases sea level. Not only that, but oil deposits are stacked in melting permafrost—it’s almost impossible to get rid of the concentrated oil.
Indeed, the oil fires there come at a very heavy price, according to Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president. Owing to the oil fires, Nigeria’s beaches can be said to be “soaked to the core with black gasoline,” he has said.
Still, Nigerians don’t care about the quality of their coastlines. They are ready to sell their children into slavery to save their crumbling coastal cities. As one state politician put it, many would “give up everything to save their homes.”