Home Causes Environment Lagos Assembly, ministry, agency visit LCC to ensure ecotourism safety

Lagos Assembly, ministry, agency visit LCC to ensure ecotourism safety

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Over the last two weeks, the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) has received various high-level delegations from different arms and agencies of the Lagos State Government on inspection tours of the facilities at the 78-hectare forest reserve and wetland that seats at the heart of the Lekki Peninsula.

On Tuesday, 23rd January 2024, LCC received the first delegation from the state government made up of the Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism, Hon. Idris Aregbe; Director General of the state Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola; Deputy Director of Tourism in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Aminu Omosun; officials of the ministry and commission. They arrived the LCC at about 8 am.

The delegation was received and conducted on a three-hour tour of the facility by the Director General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Joseph Onoja, in the company of other senior management staff of the Foundation. LCC is owned and managed by NCF, the foremost environmental and sustainability NGO in Nigeria.

The inspection and assessment tour started from the LCC gate, through the carpark, the boardwalk, the 401m long-canopy walkway (the longest canopy walkway in Africa and second longest in the world), to the family park, the tree house, and the boardroom for briefing.

Addressing the NCF/LCC team, Aregbe expressed his pleasure at the level of maintenance culture, the prompt and swift response to safety issues, and having the canopy walkway accident-free for nine years. He however highlighted some new safety priority areas and other places that require repairs and reinforcement, and charged NCF they are properly fixed before the centre is reopened.

Four days later, a team from the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, led by its Deputy Director of Research, Mr. Frank Legunsen. They came on a follow up inspection of the repair and maintenance work on the facilities in the LCC.

On 3oth January, a team from the state Safety Commission, led by a Senior Consultant in the commission, came to LCC for a comprehensive inspection to thoroughly assess and examine the ongoing maintenance and repairs on the facilities, especially the boardwalk and the canopy walkway. That marked the third inspection visit by the Safety Commission within two weeks.

On the same day, a high-powered delegation of the state House of Assembly, led by Hon. Bonu Solomon, Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture paid a working visit to LCC, to assess the situation and ongoing maintenance efforts.

He was in the company of Chairman of the House Committee on Physical Planning, Hon. Sylvester Ogunkelu; Chairman of the House Committee on Home Affairs, Hon. Jubril Abdulkareem; Chairman of the House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Hon. Gbolahan Ogunleye; and Hon. Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere constituency I.

They were also received by Onoja, in company of the Director of Business Development and Communications, Mr Uchenna Achunine; and LCC Project Manager, Ms. Bose Kosemani. Immediately after welcoming them, the DG made a revealing presentation on the devastating effect and impact of the coastal erosion along the Alfa Beach in Lekki Lagos before leading the delegation into the reserve.

The lawmakers were then conducted on a tour of the facilities (especially the boardwalk and the canopy walkway) to inspect and assess the level of maintenance and repair works going on at the centre. Solomon expressed his satisfaction with what he observed during the tour.

These visits are part of the state government’s response to the viral video released on 21st January 2024, that shows a broken metal brace on the canopy walkway at the LCC.

In his briefing to the government officials, Onoja said: “It is with utmost sense of responsibility that we state that the incident did not fall on our blind spot. According to him, this incident happened on 16th December and in line with our response protocol, the team of technicians swung into action immediately, closed the canopy walkway to tourists and repaired it that day, in less than 30 minutes. Our team of technicians were part of the team that constructed the canopy walkway. They are well trained and have the requisite knowledge to operate and maintain the facility”.

According to him, “LCC plays host to tons of visitors, and the facility is not immune from expected wear and tear. Yet, NCF has maintained an accident-free reputation on Africa’s longest canopy walk since the official opening of the facility in 2015. This is due to the diligence of expert technicians and maintenance staff as well as other relevant stakeholders, including our vigilant visitors”.

In keeping to LCC’s safety protocol of maintaining its facilities periodically especially after festive seasons like the Yuletide , the centre was officially closed for routine maintenance since 16th January 2024 with a plan to reopen on 1st February 2024. But the planned re-opening is suspended until the 20th February after securing approval from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Safety Commission.

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