Nigeria: Federal Govt Moves to Restore Mangrove Forests in Niger Delta

Nigeria's Ministry of Environment and experts have converged to fathom ways to restore mangroves in the Niger Delta region with emphasis on the Ogoniland.

At the meeting, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, in his opening remarks, said: "Today's meeting is a turning point for mangrove ecosystems in Ogoniland. 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 director of press, Ministry of Environment, Saghir el-Mohammed, in a statement, said the meeting will lead to the creation of a strategy and conservation plan for the restoration of mangroves in the Ogoniland.

He said the conditions and methods for successful replantation and recovery of mangrove habitats were discussed during the meeting.

He said the meeting, which was attended by experts from more than 20 different institutions, was supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

"Mangroves are not just ecologically significant but are critical to the livelihood and food security of communities in Ogoniland.

"It is hoped that the meeting will 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," he said.

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He noted that UNEP had found extensive damage to mangroves in Ogoniland when undertaking 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 more thick layer of bituminous substance," he said.

el-Mohammed added that experts found that pollution has accumulated over a very long period.

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