The Badagry River

The Badagry River

Lagos and water bodies are like two peas in a pod. In today’s exploration of Lagos state, we will focus on the Badagry river. 

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If you have traveled through the waterways of Lagos, you likely passed through the river. This is the source of livelihood for many Egun, Awori and Egbado people- the major indigenous tribes of Badagry.

The economic impact this water body has on the city of Lagos and Nigeria as a country is remarkable. Apart from the fishes it promises, the river was also the major channel during the slave trade periods. 

In today’s article, we will study the River: its ecology, flow pattern, and socio-economic impact. Read on!

Geography and Flow Pattern

When you look at a Map of the Badagry River you will notice it begins its journey from one of the lakes in Lagos. From there, it flows outside Lagos towards the Benin coastline.

Due to certain circumstances, the river doesn’t immediately flow into the coastline. Rather, its flow takes a parallel geometry against the coast before joining the Atlantic Ocean.

The peculiarity of its flow affects its interactions with its environment and even the communities around the river. While it may have some perks, its hazards may not be easy to manage.

What causes these parallel movements are sandbars which line the coast. They were formed by the influence of waves and currents who deposit soul particles in this region. Sandbars are the natural security forces of the Ocean causing the river to flow beside the Ocean and form an estuarine water body.

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 After some meters have been covered, the river outruns the sandbars and triumphantly fuses with the Atlantic Ocean through openings in the sandbars created by Ocean tides and other heavy movements.

Ecology 

The unique flow pattern of the River contributes to a diverse range of ecosystems. Its parallel flow creates areas of brackish water, where freshwater from the river mixes with saltwater from the ocean. These areas are rich in biodiversity. They support various plant and animal species adapted to both freshwater and marine environments.

If you explore some of the outlets of this river, you will find a large number of water hyacinth plants. Coconuts are also one of the common plants in the communities living near the river. Infact, Badagry is the major coconut plantation site in Lagos. 

Due to the unique river feature, Badagry’s soil is divided into two. You will see the swamp-like lands that have the mangrove forests and the somewhat dry lands popularly called wetlands. 

As you explore the settlements, do not be surprised to see fishermen casting their net. These nets stay in the river for about eight hours before their owners  return to check their catch. Some of the aquatic life around the river are the blue crab, croaker fish, pompano fish, Tilapia, African Threadfin, Bonga Shad which the locals call Bonga. 

While the mangrove cleanses the river, the wetlands are suitable for aquatic life. So, you will also find local fisheries here. The source of income of most Badagry natives is fishing so this is not surprising.

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Furthermore, the mangrove could also be a safe ground for fishermen when the river becomes turbulent. So, don’t be afraid when the waves crash violently against your boat especially when you are with the boat driver. He knows the techniques of water travel on this river.

Socio-Economic Importance

The river is a central landmark that has influenced the commercial status of Lagos state. Its shores are still one of the exporting ports of Nigeria. Before the influence of the western world, river was the chief platform for commerce and transportation.

Although modern amenities like roads and cars have reduced the use of the river, you can beat the Lagos traffic by using a speedboat and getting to your destination on time. Lagos is divided into the island and mainland but certain parts of the mainland still have water bodies.

Historically, the Awori, Egun and other tribes in Badagry are predominantly fishermen. These locales prefer fishing when the river flows downstream. On the days when its flow is upstream, you will find a small number of them checking their nets.

The river is also a tourist site. Several resorts and camps are scattered along its shores and several outlets. So, you can take advantage of these platforms and explore the River and its communities to your heart’s content.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts

Similar to most Natural habitats and terrains, the river has its fair share of environmental issues. Most of these issues are due to uncoordinated human activities. 

For instance, industrial and domestic waste are channeled to the river. The locales also prefer to dump their waste in the river. These activities affect the aquatic life in the river and reduce its quality.

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 Other activities like illegal sand mining can change the natural sequence of the river and influence flash floods and erosion

Therefore, the government and other regulatory bodies are telling people about the dangers of their activities. In a bid to protect the river’s ecosystem, they encourage strong sustainable practices.

Although certain measures have been put in place, not every stakeholder follows the instructions and rules. The preservation of the river and its ecosystems is our responsibility. So, spread the word, encourage your friends and family. You might just start an environmental movement.

Conclusion

The River is a unique and valuable part of Lagos State’s coastal ecosystem. Its parallel flow along the coastline, before exiting through sandbars to the sea, creates diverse habitats that support rich biodiversity and contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the region. 

When you visit the settlements that line this water body, you will be surprised by the sheer number of canoes and fishing nets the inhabitants have. Just like Tinubu Square, exploring the coastline of Lagos along the River is a worthwhile exploration for you. 

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