The Lagos State government hosted the 2019 Tree Planting Day on Sunday 14 July with governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu encouraging Lagosians to be more concerned about preserving the environment as well as make tree planting a habit.
“We need to establish the right attitude that would support government policy on the environment. This involves not only the government but also non-state actors and network of citizens,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by the First Lady, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu in the Lekki area, one of eight ceremonial sites chosen to commemorate the event.
“To this end, lets resonate it across the city of Lagos that as we mark our birthdays, let’s plant a tree; as we dedicate our children, let’s plant a tree; as we celebrate our children’s graduation, let’s plant a tree; whatever memorable event that we do, let’s endeavor to mark it with planting of trees. This little act of benevolence to nature can actually save our planet from further destruction.”
Road to a green economy
Tree planting, he added, is one of several strategies recommended to tackle the effects of climate change and global warming.
He also pointed out that this year’s theme — “Clean and Green is our Perfect Dream” — fits perfectly into his administration’s six-pronged governance agenda, condensed into the acronym T.H.E.M.E.S
“For us as a government, we are aware that substantial progress has been made towards optimizing economic values of green spaces globally. Developing new opportunities around green spaces to propel the green economy is cardinal to our developmental policy,” he said.
“Indeed, the green economy would provide another platform for our ambitious city to promote its green credentials, improve citizens’ health and sustain the environment. Changes are needed in our urban planning strategies and a push for an increase in green spaces is highly imperative.”
The Tree Planting Day initiative is anchored by the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), headed by Mrs. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola.
In a statement released by her office ahead of the day’s commemoration, Adebiyi-Abiola identified the other ceremonial sites as follows: Costain Ram Market (by Nigeria Breweries, Costain); Bariga Jetty, Ilaje, Bariga Lagos; Ilapo Estate (Back of Alagbado Police Station); Oregun Recreational Park; Yaba Magistrate Court; Isheri Grammar School, Ojodu; and Anthony Enahoro Estate,Ogba.
7.5 million trees and counting
At the celebration last year, Adebiyi-Abiola announced that the initiative had recorded a total 7.5mn tree planted statewide. ‘‘When the tree planting programme was institutionalised 11 years ago, we had no doubt in our mind that it will be a sustainable project,” she had said at the time. ‘‘Our 10 million target by year 2020 is surely achievable.”
The goal this year is to plant 350,000 trees across the state.
In his welcome address at the Oregun ceremonial site, where 100 trees were planted, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Abiodun Bamgboye, said the annual ritual, initiated in 2009, hopes to make tree planting and recreation a vital component of the state’s urban life.
“It is important to note that no matter our economic status, we can still be part of Lagos State development agenda by a simple act of planting a tree, nurturing it and ensuring that it survives.
“I urge every Lagosian to be alive to their responsibilities on the nagging issue of sanitation and greening. When we make it clean, let us make it green; and when we make it green, we have made it safer and healthier for the generality of our people.”