The Ramsar Convention welcomes Nigeria as its 123rd Party
UNESCO has informed the Bureau that on 2 October 2000 Nigeria completed the formalities necessary for its accession to the Convention, as amended by the Paris Protocol of 1982. The Convention will therefore come into force for Nigeria on 2 February 2001. The new Partys first Ramsar site is "Nguru Lake (and Marma Channel) complex" (58,100 hectares), part of the Hadejia Nguru Wetlands located in the northeast of the country, straddling the border between Jigawa State and Yobe State. (The Hadejia Nguru floodplain was the subject of an instructive case study in Ramsars Economic Valuation of Wetlands, by Barbier, Acreman, and Knowler, 1997.)
Nguru Lake (and Marma Channel) complex is a sahelian floodplain and lake which qualifies for the Ramsar List under the representative Criterion (embodying all of the diverse flora and fauna of both the Sahel and Sudan), the 20,000 waterfowl Criterion for at least three species (Philomachus pugnax, Anas querquedula, and Dendrocygna viduata), and the fish Criteria (with some 20% of the fish variety of the Lake Chad Basin and about 1% of all fish caught in inland freshwater bodies in Nigeria; the "disc Tilapia" is thought to be endemic). Floods in the wet season play a critical role in recharging groundwater, upon which Nguru town and the string of settlements along the channel and lake are dependent. Some 200,000 people depend for their livelihoods upon the site, particularly for water supply. Educational research and ecotourism are practiced sustainably, but grazing, cultivation, and fishing are increasingly causing pressure. All land belongs to resident communities (and ultimately, in theory, to the federal government), under the control of families. The spread of invasive Typha grass, taking over flood rice and cassava fields, blocking river channels, and undermining fisheries, is seen as a major problem. The IUCN-Hadejia Nguru Wetlands Conservation Project maintains research facilities and an information center and encourages ecotourism with boat rides. HNWCPs wise use guidelines for the site have been accepted by government as a working document.