Environmentalists have urged Nigerians to plant trees as a way of preserving and sustaining the environment.
They made this known over the weekend while marking the World Environmental Day held at the Gateway zone, Magodo GRA phase 1, Lagos,.
The tree planting exercise, was organized by Reggae Republic, an NGO in conjunction with LASPARK Reggae Republic.
It is a socio-humanitarian organisation formed by reggae enthusiasts that share common interests with the environment.
Speaking at the event, Kingsley Uranta, Executive Director of the Reggae Republic told journalists that it planned to partner with communities in Lagos State to plant one million trees around the state in one year.
In his words, “Right now, we are targeting about 9,000 trees. As a matter of fact, we are going to one million trees, but it’s a gradual process.
“We have planted some here and we will go to other locations within Lagos to plant trees. It might be a one-year event but we will make sure we attain our target.”
He stated that the event was significant to sensitise people to the importance of keeping the environment safe by planting trees and taking care of the environment.
The environmentalist further cited the depletion of the ozone layer as a concern, adding that there was a need for people to appreciate the environment, keep it clean, and nurture it, for their interest and the interest of generations unborn.
Speaking on the inevitability of urbanisation, he said, “In terms of creating awareness, those of us who believe in preserving the environment need to dig deeper to try to convince everyone, coming up with programmes that will help to sensitise the people.
“You cannot stop industrialisation, but let’s also do our best to preserve the environment.”
The Chairman of Gateway Zone Community Development Area, Mr Oyebode Ojomu, said the community partnered with Reggae Republic because of a shared passion for the environment.
Ojomu maintained “The environment makes the man and the man makes the environment. I feel that is one little thing we can do to make our environment available for this campaign and that is exactly what we have done today. Aside from those that grow naturally, most of the trees that we have today were planted by people.
Ojomu said that “The environment makes the man and the man makes the environment.
“I feel that is one little thing we can do to make our environment available for this campaign and that is exactly what we have done today.
“Aside from those that grow naturally, most of the trees that we have today were planted by people.
“For us to help nature, we need to keep planting trees. In terms of the significance of what we have done today at the leadership level, we are encouraging others to do likewise in their small gardens, environment or communities, so that we can keep nature alive at all times.”
The Reggae enthusiasts maintained that if we destroy the environment by way of urbanization, civilization and industrialization, it would not augur well for the next generation.
“It’s important we respect natural creations like trees, so on our side we are embarking on planting one million tree in Lagos,” he said.
Oyebode Ojomu stressed that without trees there would be no life and whenever one cuts a tree, a life is automatically cut off.
He therefore, encouraged citizens to plant trees in line with United Nations’ mandate to plant one billion trees to save the ecosystem and curb global warming. “We don’t live in the sky, it’s here and we need trees as part of our daily survival.
“So people should learn to plant trees no matter the space constraint, even a flower is something, this is indispensable because we have a symbiotic relationship with trees which is a life sustainable venture,” he said.
Dr Newton Jibunor, Chairman of Fight Against Desert Encroachment, (FADE) represented by Mr Augustine Afam Ugah, said that trees are not only essential but biogenic need of man as water is.
He stressed that the only way one can immortalize oneself is by one planting trees because trees outlive their planters.
“We plant trees and name them after ourselves. Most trees you see today were planted centuries ago, tress gives us more than oxygen, so we need trees as much as we need food and water,” he said.
On his part, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi, a foremost conservationist, and Chairman of Lagos State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative, who was represented by Mr Basil Evans spoke on the significance of planting trees and enjoined the citizens to preserve the environment and help restore the Eco-system.
“Trees have so much benefits to mankind. They filter the air, provide fresh drinking water, help curb climate change, and create homes for thousands of species of plants and animals. We can’t afford not to take care of them,” he said.
The ceremony had all the trappings of a reggae festival and unique in it’s own way.
Each tree planted was decorated with a reggae coloured ribbon and is automatically owned and be nurtured by each residential family.
A poetic rendition on Environment titled; “No Tree, No Life” was performed by Evelyn Osagie of The Nation Newspapers.