Group seeks protection for Nigeria’s mangrove forests
Worried that Nigerians depend on mangrove for fuel and charcoal, a conservation group – Eco Restoration Foundation (ERF), has called on the Federal Government to declare a mangrove emergency in the country, outlaw it’s harvesting for logging, and provide clean energy for rural dwellers.
The group urged the government to sponsor research into the values of the mangrove in order to start producing pharmaceutical herbal products for cure to Covid-19, as it being promoted by Tanzanian authority from the mangrove forests.
ERF Executive Director, Prince David Omaghomi, told The Guardian that the mangrove is being lost at an alarming rate of over 35 per cent in the last 50-years, despite the fact that Nigeria has the third-largest mangrove forest in the world and the largest in Africa.
While expressing concerns on the poor conservation and restoration efforts of mangroves by the government, which is almost non-existent, he said without the concise efforts of conserving and protecting them, the immense social economy values of the mangrove would be lost in the next couple of years.
He said: “There have been research institute for Tropical agriculture, a research institute for cocoa research in Ibadan, raw material development, but there are no institution or research centres dedicated to mangrove protection. The mangrove protection have largely been by environmental groups. We want the government to take it reasonably because the cost of coastal protection by concretes is more than a hundred million times than the cost of mangroves.”
According to him, the amount of mangrove forest the nation will maintain with one million dollars is equal to the number of oceanification problems that will be solved. He warned that planting one-million-dollar worth of mangrove couldn’t be achieved by building concrete walls.
For him, the values of the mangrove have largely been under publicised and undervalued, adding that the mangrove is the lungs of the earth because they absorbed much more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than regular vegetation.
“There is also the pediatric value for children, there are women who have had difficulty in giving birth that has been known to go into labor immediately they drink herb from the mangroves.
The ERF boss also said climate change has impacted on the mangrove in Nigeria, and reduced their numbers. However, he said the greatest challenge or threats to the mangroves in Nigeria is not climate change but human activities.