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How to preserve Lagos, by experts

How to preserve Lagos, by experts

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Climate change is a global threat. Lagos State, with its peculiar topography, has become the focus of attention. Environmental experts have warned that the Centre of Excellence risks being submerged, if steps are not taken, MUYIWA LUCAS reports.

Environmentalists have warned that Lagos, like cities threatened by climate change, may be wiped out by 2050.

By 2030, the state might be under water, if urgent steps were not taken by  the government to arrest the situation.

The environmentalists, who met in Lagos, under the aegis of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), based their submission on their studies.

Using illustrations and images, the experts explained that the precarious situation was not unconnected with the effect of waves from the Atlantic Ocean, which they said was growing rapidly, eating the shorelines of Lagos oceans and coastlines.

Since this encroachment of the ocean effect started in the 1960s, they said, about 1.5 kilometres of the Lagos shoreline had been washed away.

Its Technical Programme Director, Dr Joseph Onoja, painted  a lurid picture of the development, further lending credence to the environmental danger ahead.

Onoja explained that the safety felt in the early years of this millennium, when coastal communities such as Igbo-Efon, Okun-Ajah, Okun-Alfa and Lafiaji, stood at about 13,000 metres from the Kuramo beach waters, had disappeared, hence making the fear of coastal erosion real.

For instance, he said in a survey on Okun-Alfa community, the distance between a particular house, a road and the shoreline was about 109 metres as at May 2000. Regrettably, Onoja said, by May 2013, the road had been washed away, while between December 2015 and April 2016, the distance between the community and the shoreline had shortened from 47 to 33 metres.

The group’s Chairman, Ede Dafinone, who led the campaign for coastal communities along the Lekki axis, said beach erosion began with the construction of the Apapa Port.

According to him,  while the construction of the Eko Atlantic City (EAC) helped to save the Bar Beach and parts of Victoria Island from the ravaging effect of erosion, the movement of the ocean wave eastwards has not helped matters.

By implication, this means that the effect of the ocean control of the Bar Beach with the EAC might have further influenced the erosion in other parts of the states, and even beyond.

Dafinone said  the NCF has raised its concerns with the state government, adding that the  state needed the support of the Federal Government to protect it and the  country’s shoreline.

He warned that failure to assist the state government to protect the shorelines would lead to unpalatable effect, which will resonate in other other parts of the country.

The NCF helmsman regretted that while the state government has constructed 15 groins, covering up to 14 kilometres of the coastline, it has had to put the project on hold due to paucity of funds. The Nation learnt that it cost about N1 billion to construct a groin.

Way forward

To avoid a spillover effect of shoreline erosion, the NCF suggested that the groins should be constructed up to Escravos, in Warri, Delta State, while there should be basic law enforcement on sand mining.

According to NCF Director-General, Muhtari Aminu-Kano, there was need to construct the groins to Escravos because waves from the Niger Delta had started moving westwards as those from Lagos were moving eastwards.

“We need a proper and comprehensive assessment of our marine environment to show how far we need to take the groins,” he said.

Aminu-Kano charged the managers of Ecological Fund to look at the issues critically to solve the problem, while advocating that the society should go green by planting trees.

Dafinone further warned that the situation portends a potential disaster, which the government  could avert.

According to him, if 10 metres of the shoreline have been lost in six months, then it tells of what the future holds because nature is not predictable. For now, he said the only potential solution remains  constructing groins.

Onoja shared Dafinone’s position. He said the situation required the urgent attention and partnership of the Federal Government to intervene through the construction of groins.

“The Federal Government needs to rise to this challenge. The speed of the wave is alarming and we are talking of waves capable of wiping out communities in a matter of hours. Not only that, our groundwater, humans and the biodiversity will be affected,” he said.

Lending his voice to the call for Federal Government’s support,  Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative Chairman, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, called for a restart of groin construction.

“We cannot be sitting down and waiting for the worse to happen. Once we have the groins, Lagos can have lovely beaches that can attract tourism,” the environmentalist said.

The post How to preserve Lagos, by experts appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

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