By Abdullateef Aliyu and Vanessa Richard
Lagos — Nigeria’s mangrove ecosystem is said to be the largest in Africa and the third largest in the world spanning about 10,000 square kilometres, from Badagry in the West to Calabar in the South, an expert has said.
The Executive Director, Eco Restoration Foundation, Prince David Omaghomi, stated this in Lagos recently while marking the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem 2018. Joining other environmentalists to advocate for the conservation of mangrove to protect the coastal areas, he said, “If the mangroves are not preserved, then the coastal areas will be wiped out completely.”
The event was organized by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and MangroveXpo. It was the first time the day would be marked in Nigeria.
“When we lose the value of the mangrove, we make the poor get poorer because most people depend on those aqua-species in the mangrove for their livelihood,” he noted. Omaghomi highlighted some of the threats to the mangrove ecosystem to include indiscriminate activities of oil exploration firms in the Niger Delta and government’s involvement in environmental degradation.
The Technical Director of NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja, said the celebration was to create awareness of the mangrove and to find solutions to challenges threatening the ecosystem.
An environmentalist, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, said the mangrove forest in Nigeria is one of the most valuable bio-diverse resources in the environment which used to be protected.
“It is our life support system that we inherited in a fairly good condition from our parents because they hadn’t abused and destroyed it by misuse of technology,” he noted.
Highlighting the imperative of mangrove conservation, a book, ‘Man and Mangrove, An Environmental Awakening’, written by the director MangroveXpo, Mr Jerry Chidi was presented at the event.