The General Manager of the Lagos State Parks & Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs. Bilikiss Akinbiyi-Abiola, has stressed that it is critical for every household in Lagos State to have at least three trees just as she said that having fruit trees would be very beneficial to the households.
She made the disclosure during the #InsideMainlandEngage tweet chat where she noted that her focus is to drive the establishment of modern parks and gardens in a bid to foster tourism growth and improve quality of lives of Lagos resident.
According to her; “We all need to make it a point to visit a park at least once a week. It is important to take the kids to the park for a picnic or read a book under the tree. That will help with individual well-being as well as promote better relations in communities.”
However, to ensure Mainlanders and other Lagos residents who missed the tweet chat are updated about the discussions during the session, InsideMainland has drawn the ten major takeouts from the tweet chat.
See the highlights below.
1. Every Lagos house needs to have a tree
While advocating for households in Lagos to have trees, Mrs. Akinbiyi-Abiola said; “Every household in Lagos should have at least 3 trees. They don’t have to be ornamental trees. We could have fruit trees which would be very beneficial to the households.”
She added that her agency “recognize that people might want to plant trees, but might not know where to start from. We provide support, with cheaply priced seedlings available for individuals. We also provide free seedlings to NGOs or individuals who organize tree planting events.”
2. A green environment saves lives
Commenting on green and healthy environment, she said; “Over the years, Lagos State has lost a lot of green area. This poses a serious risk to the environment and welfare of citizens. Having trees and a green environment can reduce health risk and also save hospital bills.”
3. You may be fined for felling a tree
Speaking on indiscriminate felling of trees, she noted that the agency might commence enforcement exercise on offenders. “We have stepped up enforcement for people who cut trees without permits. We have also made our tree felling approval process more stringent, we understand that some trees need to be felled for safety of lives and property as well as for development,” she said.
4. LASPARK also has its challenges
On the challenges of her team, she said; “We recognize that we need to pick up the pace. One of the big challenges is public awareness. We currently have a team called the LASPARK Green Lagos Managers who are moving around Lagos to highlight opportunities for greening.”
5. A tree in your house might get you a discount on Land Use Charge
Although most stakeholders and a few other Lagos residents have protested the new reviews on the Land Use Charge (LUC) in Lagos at different times, the General Manager of LASPARK has said she is ready to discuss with the state government for a discount in the LUC for residents who connect with the initiative of the agency by planting a tree. This was after a leading Public Relations agency, Modion Communications, and CEO of Hotels.ng, Mr. Mark Essien, suggested the idea to the LASPARK boss during the tweet chat. Want that discount? If yes, try plant a tree now.
6. How LASPARK is creating jobs
Mrs. Akinbiyi-Abiola in her remarks on job creation stated that her agency is directly creating jobs in a bid to take youths off the streets.
“Did you know that one park creates at least 30 direct jobs? Also, trees are the key to our collective survival. We need to prioritize the collective interest over individual interest,” she replied.
7. The government might build a park near you soon
“We hope to build ten parks this year and we are identifying opportunities and potential partners. We already have two under construction in Jibowu and Osborne,” she said when speaking on the government plans on parks in the State.
8. Lagos gardens/parks are now safe
Reacting to questions about Lagos parks, the LASPARK General Manager said; “We have increased security in our parks. We are also working on having programs in the parks to get people to come in and see how nice they are.”
9. You can enjoy free WiFi at the parks
In her reaction to freebies available to visitors at Lagos parks, Mrs. Akinbiyi-Abiola stated some Lagos parks now have free internet access for use. “We currently have free WIFI in our parks, sponsored by the Lagos State Govt. It is actually one of our best kept secrets,” she confirmed.
10. You can also build a small park
Commenting on the fewer number of parks in Lagos, the LASPARK boss said; “Government cannot build all parks. If you live in an estate identify a space for a park and work to build one, you can build a nice, simple park on a small budget.”