Call to protect Lagos urban wetlands

The WWN Committee has sent letters to multiple influential figures in Lagos, Nigeria, asking them to limit the destruction of an urban wetland there.

The National Theatre, Nigeria, is a cultural centre built among wetlands in Nigeria’s economic hub. Local birders, such as the Lekki Bird Club, visit it to see birds including migratory and resident waterbirds. The fans of the wetland include researcher and Flyway Youth Ambassador, Esther Nosazeogie. Esther was planning a wetlands photo exhibition for the site to mark World Wetlands Day, and has a long-term dream of establishing a wetland visitor centre there.

Esther contacted the WWN committee, among other groups, with disappointing news. Machinery was destroying the wetland. It was part of a plan to modernise the Theatre, to provide further entertainment and cultural venues in its grounds.

We enquired with our Regional Representative, Maximin Djondo and decided to raise our objections. In March we sent a letter to the Director of the Theatre, financiers, the State Governor, and Nigeria’s Minister for the Environment. We are awaiting their responses.

Flooding is an election issue in Lagos, and we reflected on that in the letters. We highlighted how urban wetlands can contain flooding, and enhance people’s lives with cooler air temperatures and important venues for recreation and education, and the SGDs. We also pointed out the importance of wetlands for migratory birds.

The Lekki Bird Club is documenting the destruction, on Twitter: