06 February 2017, Abuja – The United Nations Development Programme has commenced the cultivation of new mangrove trees across the vast depleted swamps of Mogho community in Ogoni Kingdom.
According to the UNDP, Mogho is one of the communities in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State that have suffered from immense oil pollution for decades and this has devastated the coastal mangrove.
The UNDP through the Niger Delta Biodiversity Conservation Project selected Mogho as a beneficiary of its regional biodiversity conservation to enhance the restoration of the lost flora, fauna and environment for the economic benefit of the local community.
The Project Coordinator of the NDBP, Dr. Matthew Dore, said a lot of mangrove had been lost due to oil pipelines laying as well as oil and gas production.
“This decade-old pollution is endangering the mangrove ecosystem in Nigeria,” he said.
He said the NDBP with financial assistance from UNDP had selected demonstration spots in communities such as Mogho to rehabilitate and conserve the mangrove across the Niger Delta by replanting the lost coastal forest.
He added that the ongoing conservation commenced in 2016 with series of awareness, sensitisation and capacity building on biodiversity conservation along with cultivation of economic trees that could help with restoring the degraded environment.
Dore said hundreds of red mangrove species and seedlings of African bush baby trees also known as ogbono in local parlance, were established in nursery gardens across the community in conjunction with the residents and the Community Development Committee with the support of the UNDP.
He added, “The plants were chosen due to the economic value of the ogbono seed as well as their importance to the community which uses the tree’s wood for roofing.
“Seedlings of ogbono tree were given to individuals to plant in their farms because the fruit of the tree is harvested by women and used in preparing local delicacies while the processed seeds can be a source of income for the rural women.”
The Chairman of Mogho CDC, Ace Nudi Oliver, commended the UNDP stating that “this project will bring back the former environmental grace which we have lost as a result of almost seven decades of oil exploration in the Niger Delta.”