Fashola Flags Off Tree Planting Campaign In Lagos
Sep 2, 2008 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday flagged off the Tree planting campaign in the state which was held simultaneously in 200 centres with an assertion that the state is taking tree planting as an environmental safety precaution to live behind a sustainable environment for upcoming generations.
Governor Fashola who spoke at the Obanikoro end of Ikorodu road where he performed the symbolic tree planting campaign along with other dignitaries added that the Lagos State Government has come to terms with the fact that the planet is in peril.
He added that it was in this line that the administration has started acting by cleaning canals, cleaning the environment, managing solid waste disposal and beautifying the state and the city.
Governor Fashola also informed that Man lives in one world where what happens in distant locations impacts Nigeria almost immediately adding that Hurricane Gustav which hit New Orleans in the United States of America yesterday would affect Lagos in exactly a fortnight’s time.
He added that part of the way by which it would be felt is an increased tide in the Atlantic and the Waterways, adding that “it would be unfortunate if we have heavy rains on that day because there would be a tidal lock and until the tide recedes, the flood would not go”.
The Lagos State Governor added that as the water level increases, trees would not only serve as a means of storage of water but would also protect against flood and desertification.
In addition, Governor Fashola said in the last one year, 19 different organizations have been engaged by the state, providing over three thousand jobs to people as regular staff, casual staff, suppliers, distributors and florists in the beautification campaign.
He explained that as the trees are being planted, some people would also be provided with jobs to tend the trees, saying at least 40 would be employed on a minimum salary of ten thousand naira monthly at two of the centres.
He reiterated that the state is not only creating jobs and responding to challenges of the environment but also creating a healthier community, a healthier workforce and people as the carbon dioxide which man emit is the bloodline and life support for trees which in turn produces oxygen which makes man stay alive.
He reassured that in the next few years, the state would have been able to ensure that over one million trees are planted all over adding that several people and sectors including students, corps members, lecturers and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have already bought into the programme.
He said at the end of yesterday with the tree planting exercise holding simultaneously in 200 centres, about 250,000 trees would be planted, adding that henceforth every July 14 would be observed as official tree planting day in Lagos State.
The Lagos State helmsman also informed that an enumeration and tagging of all trees in the state has commenced adding that it would be an offence to fall a tree without permission in Lagos.
He emphasized that he is very proud to be leading the initiative to plant trees in Lagos as a look across the state would reveal that most of the trees around are those planted 50, 60 and 70 years ago by the colonialists and are already aging and falling, saying the programme represents “one of the ways to put them back”.
Said he: “I implore all citizens to endeavour to plant five new trees in place of each one felled when inevitable and avoid unwholesome attitudes that may destroy such trees such as deliberate burning, poisoning, unauthorized felling, debarking and uprooting trees”.
He recalled with nostalgia those days when the streets of Lagos especially Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Apapa, Ikeja and Lagos Mainland were adorned with beautiful trees which did not only add aesthetic values to the city but also protect the environment from degradation.
Speaking earlier, Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire said by the programme, the state is strengthening its resolve to take beautification and greening of Lagos to the next level by ensuring that the state wears the look of a pace setting city capable of competing with other modern cities of the world.
He informed that an intrinsic value of greening is stress control which Lagosians like residents of other cosmopolitan cities of the world need and which can be achieved by having natural plants, beautiful flowers and trees around everyone.
In a goodwill message, the representative of the Nigerian Institute of Landscape and Florists, Alhaji Fatai Amodu commended Lagos State for taking the initiative in the tree planting campaign and urged other states to emulate it.
Also speaking the founder of the Fight Against Desert Encroachment, Chief Newton Jibunoh said the world is being threatened by the desert and that it would need about 87Billion trees to replenish the planet.
He added that it is a thing of joy that Governor Fashola is trying to restore Lagos as the planet is dying because of severe weather conditions.
The Governor later planted a tree to flag off the ceremony statewide. Other dignitaries who planted trees at the occasion were the Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Akiolu, the Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Akinola Ibrahim and Bishop (Dr) Magnus Atilade.