The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mangrove Marathon 10 Kilometres Awareness Run, Jerry Chidi, has called on government at all levels, multinationals and other stakeholders to be involved in saving Nigeria mangrove.
Chidi made the call on Saturday, July 30, shortly after the climax of the “10 kilometres Awareness Run/Fun Walk, Warri 2022”.
Twenty-six-year-old Hamadjan Sondi from Cross Rivers finished first in the male category with 32 minutes, while Charity Agofure (28) from Delta clinched the female category with a record time of 37 minutes.
Addressing newsmen at the Warri Township Stadium, Chidi said that described mangrove as one of the nature-based solutions to tackling climate change.
According to him, mangrove is an ecosystem that is unique to the Niger Delta region, saying it ranked about fourth in the world.
Chidi also said that fishers depended on resources from the mangrove, noting that without it, no fish in the river or sea could survive.
“Mangrove serves as a breeding ground for fishery and other aquatic lives like periwinkles, oysters, crayfish among others. It is a critical aspect of our ecosystem that support livelihood.
“The challenges we are facing in the environmental degradation is because of lack of awareness.
“So, to raise awareness about the environment, we thought it fit to use sport as a vehicle to educate, pull people together and get them aware about certain critical issues about the environment.
“This time, we are focussing on the Mangrove and that is why we called it ‘Mangrove Marathon’.
“Marathon in the sense that it depicts the tenacity and doggedness that is needed, if we are to face the challenges in mangrove environment, especially in the Niger Delta.
“This sport is what we are using to bring awareness so that people will be more cautious and also take proactive actions to tackling some of these challenges,” he said.
Chidi said that mangrove in the Niger Delta faced a lot of challenges such as oil pollution and invasive species which called for urgent action to save the ecosystem.
He said aside creating awareness, the group also engaged in planting mangrove trees in communities, adding that it had planted six thousand mangroves in Rivers, in collaboration with the Rotary Club and Rivers Government.
“Going forward, we want to do same in Delta, sensitises them on what they can do to plant these mangrove trees in areas where water recede during the low tide,” Chidi said.
The chief executive officer thanked the people of Delta for hosting the maiden edition of the project.
He assured them that the subsequent event would be hosted by any of the 10 Mangrove states in the country.
Also, the Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said that essence of the event was to educate the people that Mangrove is not just plants, but also vital to the society.
Aminu-Kano, represented by Daniel Okakoso, said that mangrove protects the shorelines, thus preventing flooding, among others.
Over 200 athletes across the country participated in the event which kick-started at Mosheshe Estate on Airport Road and finished at the Warri Township Stadium.
It was sponsored by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Falcorp Mangrove Park, Niger Delta Snapshot, and CMADI among others.
By Edeki Igafe