The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has alerted that the Lekki-Epe corridor, including the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) and the estates surrounding it, may be washed away by 2024 if nothing is done to check ocean encroachment there.
Dr Joseph Onoja, Director General (DG) of NCF, gave the alert at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the foundation and award night held on Saturday in Lagos.
Onoja said that about 128 metres of land had been lost to the ocean between 2018 and 2022.
He noted that ocean encroachment if left unchecked, was an existential threat to the collective existence of the Lekki-Epe corridor.
While taking the attendees through his presentation, Onoja said that the foundation had been painstakingly tracking the ocean’s movement since 2018 using its active drone images and comparing it with google images.
He said, “We started taking active drone images in 2018, especially the Lafiaji axis,” adding that a redline (marked position) as at August 25, 2022, was gradually becoming part of the ocean.
He further said, “We continued to track the movement between 2020 and 2021. By July, 2021, our reference house had gotten close to the ocean. By August 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 would 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.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that LCC is a 78-hectare (190-acre) natural resource conservation established in 1990 to serve as a biodiversity conservation icon and environment education centre.
Onoja, who noted that LCC now had more built up houses and estates around it, said, “So, the tendency for the ocean to wipe all of these is very high if nothing is done.”
He, therefore, appealed to the Lagos State Government (LASG) for assistance to forestall the occurrence.
He said, “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.”
He expressed gratitude to Chevron for its support to the LCC.
He said that the LASG donated the Canopy Walkway to the LCC, the longest in Africa, in 2015, and that with the donation, the revenue of the centre had increased and that it had also attracted many guests.