The General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs Bilkis Adebiyi-Abiola, on Friday, June 28, 2019 said that the agency would partner with an NGO, Rethinking Cities, to develop a park on KM 4, Anthony-Maryland drainage canal wetlands.
Adebiyi-Abiola said this during the agency’s tour of the area with Rethinking Cities, and organisation supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation that focuses on urban development and housing.
Wetland is a distinct ecosystem immersed by water permanently or seasonally which has presence of aquatic plants that have adapted to the unique hydric soil. It helps to absorb excess water and serves as nature-given solution to check flooding.
According to the general manager, the park, tagged “Linear Park”, is to put structures that allow the wetlands from being encroached.
She noted that the encroachment contributed to flooding.
“Encroachments on wetlands around Lagos is the major cause of flooding in the state.
“This linear park project will be the first of its kind in the state.
“We don’t want to build something that will be a white elephant; that is why we are taking our time to get all the stakeholders on board.
“We are interfacing with members of the community to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard, as well as strictly adhering to due process in the execution of the project,” she said.
Adebiyi-Abiola said the project would not disrupt activities of those who had bought lands or were doing businesses in the area.
She said that the project would concentrate on the canals on the axis to protect drainage channels.
The general manager said that, once successful, the agency would replicate the project in other wetlands to prevent continuous encroachment on wetland areas.
She said the wetlands needed to be saved to prevent future environmental disaster from flooding.
Mr Gbogboade Seun, a landscape architect with the Lagos Urban Development Initiative, claimed that wetland area had been encroached upon by recycling companies, farmers, mechanics and people with the intention of building permanent structures.
He said that parts of the land had been sold to unsuspecting buyers, who because of the nature of the land, were willing to see it protected to prevent flooding.
Seun said that Adeniji-Adele Estate, which was at a time considered an attractive residential community, was facing serious flooding challenge.
He said that a large part of the estate remained submerged.
According to him, one of nature’s leading solutions to flooding was wetlands which unfortunately were being encroached upon.
In the creation of the linear park, bicycle trails connecting different areas of the state would be in place to maintain the integrity of the wetlands, while solving part of the transport and tourism problems.
By Oluwatope Lawanson and Chidinma Agu