As part of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation’s (NCF) commitment to conserve Nigeria’s vast natural resources and to provide the desirable environment for a conservation project site within Lagos metropolis that will serve as a biodiversity conservation and environmental education centre, a project, “Africa’ longest canopy walk way” was constructed at the Lekki’s foundation location.
Built by the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, the 401 Meters Canopy Walk and the Family Park, which boasts Koi and Tilapa Ponds, jungle gym, outdoor games and so on, are located within the nature reserve of the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos.
Last week, the project, including a park, was commissioned and handed over to the NCF management. Speaking at the commissioning and handing over ceremony, the President of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Izoma Philip Asiodu expressed his gratitude to the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Governor Fashola for taking a bold decision to help develop part of the Lekki Conservation Centre as Eco-tourism Park adding that about 30 hectares of the Centre is carved out for Family Park to enable visitors and tourists enjoy themselves while appreciating the natural environment.
According to Asiodu, the establishment of Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) was born out of NCF’s commitment to conserve Nigeria’s vast natural resources.
With NCF Headquarters in Lagos it was desirable to have a conservation project site within Lagos metropolis that will serve as a biodiversity conservation and environmental education centre.
“Three potential areas in Lagos State were surveyed in 1987 by NCF technical team in partnership with the defunct Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Lekki area was selected and here we are today, at the Lekki Conservation Centre.
Over the years, the 78 Hectare Conservation Centre has continued to attract both local and international interests. The Centre has served, as an education and resource centre to various groups, majority of which are schools and tourists.
I must at the juncture express our appreciation to Chevron Nigeria Limited for its financial support to the centre from 1992 till date”.
The chairman of the NCF National Executive Council, Ede Dafinone said that NCF Council Members had no doubt in their minds when the idea of enhancing the Lekki Conservation Centre as an eco-tourism destination was conceived and brought to them.
“Our confidence and belief was based on the undisputable quality of leadership of the Lagos State Government. Thus, I must emphasize that the present administration in Lagos has done credibly well in all sectors.
The performance of the government particularly in environment sustainability has become a reference point for others to emulate. It is our hope that all laudable initiatives started during His Excellency’s tenure will be sustained after he leaves office.
On our part as an organization, we will continue to support all environmentally responsive programmes of the government”. Fashola commended the people that made the project a success – the Commissioner for Tourism and Intergovernmental Relations, Disun Holloway and its staff as well as the leadership of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.
“The whole initiative behind why we are gathered today is environmental sustainability. I cannot find a better-crafted word to commend the vision behind the works of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and the Lekki Conservation Centre than these words “Nature doesn’t need people, but it is people who need nature”.
If we leave this place for another 50 or 100 years, and nobody came here, all the floor games will disappear and nature will take over. We will move on but this place will remain.
But in whatever form that it remains, whether it has benefit for the next generation or not will be defined by what we do today. “As we hand over the Family Park and the Canopy Walkway, I hope the Foundation will achieve the objectives to which the initiative was set for”, said Fashola.