An environmentalist group, Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI), has appealed to both the Lagos State and Federal Government to help combat the sea erosion that is currently threatening communities situated along the Lekki coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the Group, most of the coconut trees planted centuries ago to protect the shoreline from erosion have been eroded by the sea due to decades of neglects on the part of the government, threatening livelihood along the coast.
Speaking during the campaign tagged Save the Lekki Coast, on Saturday, to call attention to the plight of Lagosians living along the shoreline, President of the Group, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, explained that the state government’s effort to protect the shoreline from Victoria Island all the way to Alpha Beach by erecting granite sea groins “is highly commendable indeed, especially when one considers that this has been financed solely by the Lagos State Government, despite entreaties made to the Federal authorities over SEVEN YEARS AGO!”
He, however, insisted that the Federal Government must come to the aid of the villages along the coastline in other to complement the efforts of the state government.
Speaking further, Majekodunmi said the erosion will always continue eastward of the groins, due to the west to east ocean current flow, adding that it is imperative that these groins are erected all the way down the coast “or the country shall be courting a disaster of unprecedented proportions on this fragile coastline where the shoreline beach buffer between the ocean and the low lying inland area of Lekki is now only 30 metres in some places.”
According to him, LUFASI has started an initiative with the local community to put in place a temporary protective measure with thousands of sandbags as temporary measures to keep the ocean surge away.
The traditional ruler of one of the communities under siege from the rampaging ocean, Sikiru Ayinde of Babuwayu community, expressed fears that the community would soon be cut off from the city.“We have made series of appeals in writing to the government but nothing was done. We are all living in fear as the erosion is fast approaching our houses,’’ he said.
Ayinde, therefore, urged the government to shun unnecessary bureaucracies and deploy its machinery to control the erosion.
Also speaking on the devastation the erosion has caused some of the communities, another community leader, Jamiu Ilesanmi, explained that the community has been under the ocean surge for more than 10 years.
He said several houses had been swept away while several lives have also been lost. He called on Lagos and the Federal Government to look into their plight, adding that the beach, if properly developed, “would be a source of revenue for the government through tourism.”
The Director of Technical Programs of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Joseph Onoja, who also spoke at the event, said his organization had called the attention of the Federal Government to the plight of people living along the coast but the move of the Foundation has not yielded any result.