…..as delegations of top govt officials tour Lekki Conservation Centre, LCC
The Lagos State government is impressed with the high maintenance culture in place at the Lekki Conservation Centre, LCC which has made the possible for the nature recreational centre to quickly respond to safety concerns, thereby ensuring maximum safety and comfort of visitors.
Some high level delegations from the state government expressed the commendation during assessment tours and inspection of the LCC.
The Director General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, February 8,2024.
Their visits are part of the Lagos State Government’s response to the viral video released on January 21, 2024, that showed a broken metal brace on the canopy walkway at the LCC.
According to Dr. Onoja, LCC has played hosts to a number of high-level delegations from different arms and agencies of the Lagos State Government on inspection tours of the 78 hectares forest reserve and wetland that seats at the heart of the Lekki Peninsula.
The LCC is owned and managed by NCF, which is Nigeria’s foremost environmental and sustainability NGO.
Onoja stated that the LCC on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, received the first delegation from the Lagos State Government made up of the Special Assistant (SA) to the Governor on Tourism, Hon Idris Aregbe; Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Mr Lanre Mojola; Deputy Director of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Mr Aminu Omosun; officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, and the Lagos State Safety Commission.
He said that the delegation was received and conducted on a three-hour tour of the facility by himself (D-G) in the company of other senior management staff of the Foundation.
According to Onoja, the inspection and assessment tour started from the LCC gate, through the carpark, through the boardwalk, through the 401m long-canopy walkway (the longest canopy walkway in Africa and second longest in the world), to the family park, to the tree house, and to the boardroom for briefing.
He said that the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Hon Aregbe, while addressing the NCF/LCC team, 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 9 years.
He however highlighted some NEW safety priority areas and other places that require repairs and reinforcement and charged NCF to properly fix them before the Centre is reopened.
The NCF DG, said the “second inspection visit was on Saturday, January 27, 2024, by a team from the Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture led by Mr Frank Legunsen, Deputy Director, Research. They came on a follow up inspection of the repair and maintenance work on the facilities in the LCC.
“On Wednesday, January 30, 2024, a team from the Lagos State Safety Commission led by Dr Ehi Iden, a Senior Consultant of the Safety 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. This marked the third inspection visit by the Safety Commission within two weeks.
“On the same day, a high-powered delegation of the Lagos State House of Assembly, led by Hon. Bonu Solomon, Chairman, House Committee on Tourism, Arts & Culture paid a working visit to the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC). The purpose of the visit was to further assess the situation and ongoing maintenance efforts at the Centre.
“He was in the company of Hon Sylvester Ogunkelu, Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning; Hon Jubril Abdulkareem, Chairman, House Committee on Home Affairs; Hon Gbolahan Ogunleye, Chairman, House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, and Hon Desmond Elliot, representing Surulere Constituency 1.
“They were also received by the DG of NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja, in company of the Director of Business Development and Communications, Mr Uchenna Achunine and the Project Manager of LCC, Ms. Bose Kosemani. Immediately after welcoming them, the DG made a very 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. Hon. Solomon, Chairman of the House Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Culture expressed his satisfaction with what he observed during the tour.
Briefing the Lagos State government officials, Dr Joseph 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”.
Onoja explained further that , “LCC plays host to tonnes 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 season, the Centre was officially closed for routine maintenance since the 16th of January 2024 with a plan to reopen on 1st February 2024. This planned re-opening is suspended until the 20th of February after securing approval from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture and Lagos State Safety Commission.