The greening of Lagos is to a time bound project as the Lagos State Government’s executive bill for the establishment of Parks and Garden Agency to further entrench the green initiative and sustain the green culture will soon be ready. The State House Assembly has made tremendous progress on the bill and the agency will commence work soonest.

Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State.

Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola SAN who made this known during the 2010 Walk for Nature organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with the Lagos State Government said the agency which will be saddled with the responsibility of greening the entire state and sustaining the existing ones would owe its existence and jobs of its personnel to the survival of the parks and gardens.

The Governor expressed optimism that given the involvement of organisations like NCF and her partners in today’s event DHL, Sterling Bank, Chevron, UPDC, Aluko Oyebode, NBC, MTN and Nigerite in the mobilisation and sensitization of the public on the need to create, protect and appreciate green environment, the road to bequeathing a sustainable environment to the next generation was well paved and clear.

Governor Fashola who was represented at the occasion by Dr. Muiz Banire, Commissioner for the Environment, commended all public sector participants, Non-Governmental Organisations and individuals for their partnership and promised that the government was highly committed to guard the greenery of Lagos very jealously. He appealed to members of the public to use the walkway and desist from trampling on the green especially in the beautified gardens, parks and lawns as a respect for the environment.

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The President of Nigerian Conservation Foundation NCF, Izoma Phllip Asiodu CON, in his address commended the administration of Lagos state for its positive actions towards the environment. He noted that, with the greening revolution in Lagos, we can see the commitment of a responsible government in action and recommended that it be emulated by other States of the Federation.

Izoma Asiodu who reinstated the NCF call for a Forest Agenda for 2020 which he hoped would indicate actions to be taken by all tiers of Government recalled that the forest reserve of Nigeria at Independence was 30%. Regrettably, he said it was depleted to 4% as against the international recommendation of at least 25%.

The Forest Agenda he therefore posited should include the re-affirmation of the target of 25% forest cover within 20 years, the designation and effective protection of National parks, provision of favourable incentives for private sector investment in tree planting and forest resources management, the guarantee of ownership of private forest reserves, the empowerment of research institutes  in the production of the required number of tree seedling for the national campaign on reforestation and strict enforcement of the ban on the exportation of logs.

The universal campaign for carbon trapping and credit he affirmed has been further reinforced by the current global advocacy for the economic reassessment of the world’s forest. The NCF according to Asiodu has as part of her moderate the coordination of a corporate campaign for earth fund having successfully led a successful campaign towards the establishment of the Earth Fund at the 2008 World Conservation Union Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

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The Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire in his welcome address delivered on his behalf by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. (Mrs.) Titi Anibaba said it was expedient for all to protect nature in order not to jeopardise our present and the well being of the future generation. According to him “as we protect nature, we are not losing anything; we are making money that is the new economy – green economy. Opportunities abound as we explore a low carbon economy”.

Dr. Banire noted that the leadership role which the Lagos State Government has entrusted upon itself in the Climate Change Advocacy informed the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to flag off the National Carbon Train, a campaign for low carbon emission and carbon credit earning in Lagos last week. The task of driving home the low carbon campaign he noted has been taken by the State Government in its stride and the efforts in this direction will soon be glaring for all to see.

The Commissioner implore everyone to go back to nature, love it, embrace it and care for it with unparallel passion because we do not have the capacity to live outside nature. The Government on her part he noted has been relentless as it has created more parks and gardens, increased its planted trees and improved generally on the State of the environment.

Banire opined that our culture both traditional and the developing one dictates that we must take cognisance of and protect nature. The natural disasters happening all over the world he noted were as a result of the abuse of the environment. That we are lucky so far according to him should not be taken as being immune. Thus, we must take our destiny into our hands and do all the needful to ward off avoidable natural calamities.

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Mr. Debo Lukanbi, Manager Business Services, Chevron Nig Ltd representing the managing Director in a goodwill address said that the level the Lagos State Government has taken greening to is an invitation to all discerning corporate organisations and individuals to join hands in order to gain back the old environment and this is the bedrock of the involvement of the company in all the environmental sustainability drives of the State.

This year’s walk attracted a lot of corporate representation and people from all works of life; youth organisations, friends of the environment and NGOs graced the occasion. Three schools who led in the difference categories of essay organised by the NCF during the World Environment Day, 2010 bagged awards. They are Pamper School, Surulere; Trioka School; Lekki and Rodan School, Ajah.