Lekki Conservation Centre
Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) is one of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) foremost conservation project site. Located on the renowned Lekki Peninsula, LCC covers a land area of 78 hectare. Administratively, LCC is situated in Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The Lekki Conservation Centre, LCC is a conservation initiative to protect wildlife found in southwest coastal environment of Nigeria in the face of sprawling urban development. This 21-year-old conservation education centre has continued to attract both local and international interests. The Centre has served, as an education and resource centre to varieties of group’s majority of which are schools and tourists.
The project has promoted environmental protection and worked against poaching by surrounding communities as well as serve as a tourist centre for local and international visitors. Continuous environmental education, awareness creation and research activities are carried out in the Reserve.
How LCC Started
The establishment of LCC was born out of NCF’s relentless commitment to conservation of Nigeria’s vast natural resources. This commitment was heightened by the presence of its National Secretariat in Lagos, thus warranting the need have a conservation project site within Lagos metropolis that will serve as biodiversity conservation icon and environment education centre. This laudable concept could have come at no better time going by the daily degradation of the city’s remaining natural environment fragments due to ceaseless urbanisation; thus, making LCC one of the few natural environment relics within the city.
To move the idea of conservation project off ground, three potential areas were surveyed in 1987 by NCF technical team in partnership with the defunct Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative. Thereafter, Lekki area was selected to establish the demonstration site for the conservation project. Locating the conservation project on Lekki Peninsula informed the name of the project – Lekki Conservation Centre.
As Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh says “conservation without money is conversation.”The task of sourcing a suitable site for conservation project was not an end in itself as significant financial resources was require to acquire the 78 hectares of land. This daunting task may not have been possible save for the generous financial support of the two old giants, Gulf Oil Company (Nigeria) Limited and Chevron Oil Company (Nigeria) Limited. The two oil giant that later merged into one formidable entity, Chevron Nigeria Limited has been LCC’s benefactor from inception till date.
True to the dream of NCF, the LCC Complex foundation pillar – plaque of LCC was unveiled on 18 February 1989 by the President of WWF, HRH, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at the southern end of the LCC land area.
The Purpose of LCC
LCC was solely established to serve as a conservation icon of Nigeria’s southwest coastal mangrove resources and an information centre for environmental education and public awareness. Over the years, visiting students from various academic cadres have been able to learn through their visit to LCC practical steps to conserving our God given natural resources. LCC is also an environmental education resource centre to non-educated and semi literate visitors. The compelling flora and fauna resources enclosed within the LCC, no doubt inspires a desire to support the course of conservation in the hearts and minds of the visitors. “how can I support NCF’s conservation programme”, “I never imagine there is a place like this” or “I must bring my family…colleagues here” are some of the remarks commonly heard from tourists that visits LCC.
Key achievement over the years
Over 2million tourists of more than 100 nationals have visited LCC since inception. Most of NCF’s School Conservation Clubs were established following the impact of students/teachers’ visit to the Centre. It will suffice to say that LCC has achieved, and it is still achieving the goal of educating the public both young and old on the need to conserve natural resources. The various tiers of government are not left out from paradigm shift from infallible conservation lessons learnt from visiting the Centre.
LCC 78 hectare land area is craftily divided into two sections: LCC Complex and the nature reserve. The LCC Complex comprises of striking multi-purpose Rotunda surrounded by four office blocks. The office blocks contain project staff offices, gift shop, canteen and the drivers’ office. The facilities of the LCC Complex area were expanded in 1998 with the construction of the National Secretariat at the rear of LCC Complex.
The nature reserve traverses a mosaic of vegetation types, namely: secondary forest, swamp forest and Savanna grassland.
A trail boardwalk was constructed in 1992 to the enrich tourists/visitors view of the vast resources of the nature reserve which is encapsulated on a mangrove terrain. The trail stretches a length of 2 Km. some of the side attractions along the trail are swamp outlook, bird hide, rest stops and the tree house.
The swamp outlook affords tourists, especially nature lovers’ mouth watering opportunity of sitting back to beyond aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem interaction. On the other hand, the bird hide enables avid bird watchers snipe at unaware avifauna that are wading through the pool overlooked by the hide or foraging within the vicinity. The tree house is one of the most fascinating features one can ever come across in an ecotourism zone. The tree house, stylishly seated on a stout dawadawa tree (Pakia biglobossa) rises above 25m. A well protected ladder is ruggedly mounted behind the tree to enable nature enthusiasts reach to tree house to savour the panoramic view of the tree canopy. The rest stops as the name implies serve as rest points and picnic site for small groups of visitors. They are located at about 250m apart on the nature trail boardwalk.
At the end of trail boardwalk seats the nation station. The nation station is a recreation island in the middle of a forest. It has a semi-enclosed block structure containing the indoor picnic facilities and conveniences. The outdoor has outdoor game facilities mostly for children.