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Conservation group wants protection for coastline communities

By Victor Gbonegun
23 July 2018   |   4:10 am
Determined to protect biodiversity from being wiped off in Lekki and other adjoining communities, frontline environmental group, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation...

Determined to protect biodiversity from being wiped off in Lekki and other adjoining communities, frontline environmental group, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on the federal government to urgently assist the Lagos State government in building more shorelines.

According to the foundation, the Lagos state government has done its best in erecting about 16 to 17 groins, which have effectively protected and replenished the coast for up to 14kilometre. However, the construction of the groins was allegedly paused, possibly due to the huge cost involved which runs into billions of naira.

NCF warned that with its consistent forward forecasting on shoreline erosion, there is a possibility that Lekki gets washed away in the near future if the federal government declined support in deploying more groins to ensure that the shorelines are protected.

Addressing a press conference which was attended by NCF council member and Chairman of LUFASI; Dr. Desmond Majekodunmi, the director general of the foundation; Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, NEC chairman, Chief Ede Dafinone and director of technical programme, Dr. Joseph Onoja among others in Lagos, the foundation stated that there is a lot of illegal mining, movement of water northward from the Eko Atlantic project, rising sea level, climate change and sand filling, contributing to the rapid erosion of the coastlines.

NCF National Executive Council Chairman, Chief Ede Dafinone said currently in some areas, about 10metres of land is being lost in six months in Lekki adding that if urgent steps are not taken the NCF centre in Lekki could be gone in the next two or three years.

“To my knowledge each of the groins cost over a billion naira and with that we could imagine why the Lagos state government may have slowed down in the construction of groins and for them to slow down, we knew that they need some help. The coastline is the responsibility of the federal government and there are funds in the ecological fund, which could be made available for projects of this nature.

“We celebrate what the Lagos state government has done, pushed them to do more and also want the federal government to join forces with the Lagos state government. The effect of climate change and the rising sea levels together with the impact of coastal erosion could be devastating”.

In his remarks, NCF Director General, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano noted that Nigerian coastline has specific characteristics, hence the need for comprehensive study of the nations’ oceans and long range Environmental Impact Assessment .

He urged managers of the ecological funds to support the Lagos State government with funds to build groins along the coastline and protect human and non-human destruction..

According to him, the foundation is working toward improving the Nigerian green cover from the present 4 per cent to about 25 per cent international standard as well as curtailing desertification in North and the problem of erosion in the south.

“Immediate solution lies in taking the groins down up to the escravons. Groins are not the only solution to the problem of coastline erosion but it appears as one of the immediate solutions right now.

“We must also imbibe the culture of green way of doing things and properly plan, sensitise ourselves and the leaders that you can’t have development without safeguarding nature”, he said.