Sunday, December 4, 2022

Encroachment: Ocean redline crossed, Lekki-Epe corridor may be washed off by 2024, NCF warns

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation said that about 128 metres of land have been lost to the ocean between 2018 and 2022.

• November 20, 2022

The Lekki-Epe corridor, including the Lekki Conservation Center (LCC) and adjoining estates may be washed away by 2024 if nothing is done to check the ocean encroachment.

Dr Joseph Onoja,the director general of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation warned on Saturday.

Mr Onoja 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.

He said that about 128 metres 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, Mr 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,” Mr Onoja said.

He said that an earlier redline (marked position), as at August 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 Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) is a 78-hectare (190-acre) Natural Resource Conservation in Lekki, Lagos.

It was established in 1990 to serve as a biodiversity conservation icon and environment education centre.

Mr 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 forestall this occurrence.

“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 Walkway to the LCC, the longest in Africa, in 2015,

He said that with the donation of the walkway, the revenue of the centre has increased and 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,” Mr Onoja said.

He noted that when it was best days the foundation’s fence was 2 metres high, adding that later it became 1.8 metres high.

“However, over time our environment has been sand-filled and our fence is now less than a metre.

“We need assistance to reconstruct it,” Mr  Onoja said.

NAN

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