• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Conservationist assures on safety of facilities at centre, plans reopening

Conservationist assures on safety of facilities at centre, plans reopening

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the country’s foremost environment-focused non-governmental organization, has assured visitors and sundry stakeholders of the safety of facilities at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC).

This assurance was given during the visit of delegations from different arms and agencies of the Lagos State government on an inspection tour of the facilities at the LCC which is a 78-hectare forest reserve and wetland sitting at the heart of the Lekki Peninsula.

These visitors who came on inspection of the conservation centre included members and officials of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Ministry of Tourism, and the Lagos State Safety Commission, who came to ensure safe and improved ecotourism of the Centre.

These visits, according to a statement issued by the foundation in Lagos, were part of the state government’s response to a viral video released on January 21, 2024, that showed a broken metal brace on the centre’s canopy walkway.

But after a three-hour inspection and assessment tour of the centre conducted by Joseph Onoja, Director General (DG) of NCF, along with other senior management staff of the Foundation, the visitors said they were satisfied with what was on the ground at the centre.

Idris Aregbe, the special assistant to the Governor on Tourism, said he was impressed by the level of maintenance culture, the prompt and swift response to safety issues, and also for having the canopy walkway accident-free for 9 years.

He, however, highlighted some new safety priority areas and other places that required repairs and reinforcement and charged NCF to ensure they were properly fixed before the Centre was reopened.

Similarly, the lawmakers who were also 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 said they were satisfied. Bonu Solomon, chairman, the House Committee on Tourism, Arts & Culture, expressed this satisfaction with what he observed.

Briefing the visitors to the centre, Onoja said it was with utmost sense of responsibility that he stated that the incident at the Canopy walkway, which went viral, did not fall on their blind spot.

According to him, the incident happened on December 16, 2024, and in line with their response protocol, their 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 was part of the team that constructed the canopy walkway. They are well trained and have the requisite knowledge to operate and maintain the facility,” he said.

Continuing, he said, “LCC plays host to tons of visitors, and the facility is not immune to expected wear and tear. Yet, NCF has maintained an accident-free reputation on Africa’s longest canopy walk since the facility was opened in 2015. This is due to the diligence of expert technicians and maintenance staff as well as other relevant stakeholders, including our vigilant visitors,” he said.

He revealed that, in keeping with LCC’s safety protocol of maintaining its facilities periodically, especially after festive seasons like the yuletide, the centre has been officially closed for routine maintenance since January 16, 2024, with a plan to reopen it on February 1, 2024.

“This planned re-opening is suspended until February 20 after securing approval from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture and Lagos State Safety Commission,” he said.