Lagosians are showing their displeasure at the on-going tree felling going on in the Ikoyi area of the state, supposedly with the approval of the stage government. Many residents, supported by environment-focused NGOs, have taken to social media to speak out against the development.
Writer and communications strategist Ozzy Etomi in a tweet describe the action as a sign of “zero foresight”, and arguing that “we should be building around the nature we have been blessed with”.
This is strange,” tweets @ojoomoetiosa1 in response to Etomi’s post. “Cities around the world are planting trees and trying to encourage a green and environmental friendly environment and Lagos State Govt is cutting down trees. Disheartening.”
Twitter user @tellmarh, also weighing in on the issue, said: “The last thing Lagos needs is fewer trees. Do these people have sense. Lagos air is so toxic, it needs more trees to make that place the least habitable.”
Already, a petition has been created on change.org to mobilise more voices against the attack on the city’s ecosystem. Started by Segun Apana and with 800+ signatures already collected, it argues that “the alarming levels of air pollution in Lagos caused by generators — the highest prevalence of such machines in the world — is causing severe harm to your health even if you consider yourself young and healthy.
“It is especially speeding the demise of our senior citizens. Disease caused by poor air quality is one of a few factors that contribute to our life expectancy being as low at 55 years, even lower than that in Ethiopia which stands at 66 and far cry from world leader in life expectancy, Hong Kong 85.”
Zero green Agenda
It is not just individuals who are taking action. The Lagos-based Urban Tree Revival Team, tweeting with the hashtag #SaveIkoyiTrees and a video of the trees being cut on site, noted that “while we’re making efforts to plant new trees existing trees and forest should not be destroyed…
Another NGO, the Green Fingers Wildlife Initiative, makes the point about the silence from government in the light of the protests.
“The fact that this would go on without any form of explanation shows how much these governments value the opinion of its citizens,” it tweeted. “You come into office with ZERO GREEN AGENDA, and you cut down natural monuments and feel the base individuals should take it as they see it. Shameful.”
“This is not fair,” @AjayiOluwasayo tweeted. “Lagosians are choking with inhaling Co2 and other greenhouse gases. Only viable way to get fresh oxygen they are cutting down trees. This is not environmental friendly.”
Lagos State has hosted a tree-planting campaign every July for the past 14 years. Duting the 2019 edition, governor Sanwo-Olu encouraged Lagosians to cultivate the habit of planting trees, even on social occasions like birthdays and house warming.
@IsahOgwu wonders that: “If we are advocating to plant more trees and state government is doing this, are we really going to win the war against the impact of climate change?”