By Fabian Ekeruche
Lagos, – The Nigerian Conservation Foundation warns that the Lekki-Epe corridor, including the Lekki Conservation Center (LCC) and the estates surrounding it may be washed away by 2024 if nothing is done to check the ocean encroachment.
Dr Joseph Onoja, Director-General of NCF, gave the indication at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the foundation and award night held on Saturday in Lagos.
Onoja said that about 128 metre of land have been lost to the ocean between 2018 and 2022.
According to him, the ocean encroachment, if left unchecked, is an existential threat to the collective existence of the Lekki-Epe corridor.
While taking the attendees through his presentation, Onoja said that the foundation had been painstakingly tracking the ocean movement since 2018 using its active drone images and comparing it with google images.
“We started taking active drone images in 2018, especially the Lafiaji axis, “ Onoja said.
He said that an earlier redline (marked position), as at Aug. 25, 2022, was gradually becoming part of the ocean.
“We continued to track the movement between 2020 and 2021.
“By July 2021, our reference house has gotten close to the ocean.
“By Aug. 25, 2022, the ocean could just be seen beside the house.
“Now from our projection and from what is happening, if everything remains constant, our referenced redline will remain just by the ocean in 2026
“However, things are not equal, we have already been beaten by the beachhead.
“By our projection, if nothing is done, by 2024 the ocean will have reached the lower part of the terrain and the ocean will flow freely and meet us on the Lekki-Epe expressway.
“That is the reality we are facing,” Onoja said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) is a 78-hectare (190-acre)Natural Resource Conservation in Lekki, Lagos.
The Centre was established in 1990 to serve as biodiversity conservation icon and environment education centre.
Onoja said that the LCC now has more built up houses and estates around it.
“So, the tendency for the ocean to wipe all of these is very high, if nothing is done,” the director-general said.
He appealed to the Lagos state government for assistance to forstall this occurence.
“We are ready to collaborate with the LASG and the Federal Government to see that the reality on ground does not lead to a humanitarian, ecological and national disaster”.
Earlier, the D-G noted that the NCF was established in 1980, while the LCC was established in 1989.
He expressed gratitude to Chevron for its generous support to the LCC.
He said that the LASG donated the Canopy Walk Way to the LCC, the longest in Africa, in 2015,
He said that with the donation of the walk way, the revenue of the center has increased and the that it had also attracted many guests to the reserve.
“So far, we have over 100,000 people visiting the reserve.
“It is a heritage site for the Lagos state government and we are proud of the relationship we have with the state.
“However, since its construction in 2015, we have been the ones taking care of it and its safety standards.
“We appeal to the state government to come to our assistance, especially our fence,” Onoja said.
He noted that when it was best days the foundation’s fence was 2 meters high, adding that later it become 1.8 meters high.
“However, over time our environment has been sand-filled and our fence is now less than a meter.
“We need assistance to reconstruct it,” Onoja said.
NAN also reports that the highlight of the event was the cutting of the anniversary cake and giving of awards to deserving individuals in the society.
The awards came in different categories including Special Recognition Award, Award of Dedicated Service, Long Service Award and Posthumous Award.
The Founder of the NCF, Late Chief Lawal Edu, among others, got the foundation’s posthumous award.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku (MFR), a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) GCON, got the special recognition award.
The award night was graced by people from all works of life who are passionate about protecting the earth and environmental sustainability. (NAN)