FG Moves to Restore Mangrove Ecosystems in Niger Delta

The Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar

The Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The federal government has disclosed that it has concluded a plan to restore mangrove ecosystems in Ogoniland and the rest of the Niger Delta region.

This plan was revealed in a statement the Director of Press, Ministry of Environment, Saghir el Mohammed issued yesterday after an International Expert Meeting on Mangrove Restoration in the Niger Delta.

At the opening session, according to the statement, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar said the meeting was a turning point for mangrove ecosystems in Ogoniland.

Quoted in the statement, the minister said: “Using the knowledge and experience of the experts assembled here today, together, we will be able to restore the mangroves and improve the lives of the Ogoni communities who are affected every day by the devastating pollution.”

The statement said the meeting convened by his ministry would lead to the creation of a strategy and conservation plan for the restoration of mangroves in Ogoniland.

The statement noted that during the meeting, the conditions and methods for successful replantation and recovery of mangrove habitats were discussed.

It said international experts provided their experiences from around the world and their application to Ogoniland. In addition, examples of successful mangrove restoration already taking place in Nigeria were provided.

It noted that the meeting was attended by experts from more than 20 different institutions, and was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The statement identified mangroves as not just ecologically significant but are critical to the livelihood and food security of communities in Ogoniland.
The meeting is expected to bring new momentum to the restoration efforts for mangrove ecosystems in Ogoniland, paving the way for healthy ecosystems and successful environmental remediation of areas affected by the pollution.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had found extensive damage to mangroves in Ogoniland when it undertook its 2011 Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland.

The report found that the impact of oil on mangrove vegetation in Ogoniland had been disastrous.

Impacts of the pollution varied from extreme stress to total destruction. In the most impacted areas, only the roots of the mangroves remain, with no stems or leaves.

In many of these areas, the roots were completely coated in oil, sometimes with a 1 cm or thicker layer of bituminous substance. Experts found that pollution has accumulated over a very long period.

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