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Stakeholders in the environment sector are calling on Lagos State government to put in place measures to protect coastal lines from deterioration in the face of dredging and sundry mining activities that permeated across the nooks and crannies of the state.
In many areas, particularly, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa, Badagry, among others, dredging of sand and laterite digging are on the increase. These activities are perceived to constitute threats to the coastal lines in particular and the environment in general, so the environmentalists claimed.
To underscore the need for precautionary measures, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), during its annual Environmental Week, observed that successive administrations in Lagos had embarked on various laudable developmental projects that may impact negatively on the environment if proper precautionary measures were missing.
Speaking on the topic: “Small Island, Developing States”, the President of NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu stated that small island states, like Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt and others, were more prone to the damaging effects of a warming planet than those that are in the hinterland, adding that the impacts of a rising sea level mean the loss of lives and properties for many people living on such settlement.
According to Asiodu, the importance of Lagos as a coastal city and as the economic nerve centre of the most populous country in Africa make it imperative to pay attention to any potential threat to its economy.
“The fact is that the whole planet is under stress, not only from climate change, but from rapid population growth, and increased consumption demands and developmental projects. Therefore, it becomes imperative that development plans must be made as eco-friendly as possible to ensure sustainability.”
Expressing similar view, Mr John Ikpeme, a hydrogeologist, who spoke with Nigerian Tribune, stated that with man’s constant quest for development, it was necessary to realise the concomitant effects the quest has on the environment.
According to Ikpeme, if the environment is not protected, “development, be it road infrastructure, housing delivery, agricultural and other sectoral development will be counter-productive.”
Environmentalists’ position is that land degradation in the coastal belt of Nigeria is manifested along the outer barrier island complexes and the banks of the tidal basins, creeks and rivers, especially, in Lagos State, where sand mining is on increase as a result of developmental activities embarked upon in the state.
“The generally low lying terrain consists of unconsolidated mud and sandy particles which present no serious resistance to the impact of breaking waves and the flood/ebb tidal currents associated with the shoreline.
“Its to describe cases of land degradation based on the morphological units of Nigeria’s shoreline, with specific reference to Lagos State, where dredging activities are on the increase.
“Anthropogenic influences accelerate land degradation along the coastline hence, the need for the government of Nigeria, and especially Lagos State government, to evolve a comprehensive land use policy for the sand digging and dredging activities,” said Dr Mammud Idris, another geologist who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune.