*Says initiative created over 97, 000 jobs in 8yrs
By Ikenna Asomba
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, on Tuesday, called on the private sector to partner with the state government in the continued campaign for environmental regeneration and sustainability, through the building of more parks and gardens across the state.
Speaking at the maiden edition of Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Greening Stakeholders’ Forum with the Private Sector, held at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, Ambode noted that the idea of setting-up parks and gardens all over the state is as a result of the Green Lagos agenda.
At the event themed: “Sustaining Our Green Lagos,” Ambode, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tunji Bello, disclosed that the state government had in the last eight years, set-up no fewer than 300 parks and gardens across the state, noting that this effort, has created over 97, 000 jobs.
The governor affirmed that collaborating with the private sector on this initiative would further create more jobs for the army of the unemployed in the state.
Ambode said: “All over the world, the issue of environmental degradation and the consequent threat to mankind has been of great concern to all stakeholders; government, corporate bodies, non-governmental organizations, religious bodies, as well as environmentalists.
“The Lagos State Government has invested a lot in creating and maintaining these parks and gardens. This greening initiative by the state government is capital intensive and to sustain it, funding has to be sourced from other sources.
“It’s pertinent to note that the amount needed to establish a world class recreational park or garden ranges between N100 million to N200 million, depending on the size, features and location of the park. The state government had in the past eight years set-up 300 parks and gardens across the state. Sixty-seven of these parks, representing 22.3 per cent are managed by private concerns.”
The governor, however revealed that next year, the administration will commence work to build a Metropolitan Park on a 5-hectares of land, at Ayeteju in Ibeju-Lekki, along the Lekki-Ajah expressway.
“This proposed recreational park will serve the people of Lekki, Ajah, Ibeju, Epe and its environs. When completed, it will be the biggest publicly owned in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, and will feature a mini zoo, playing area of children, fitness centre, multipurpose game court, and other features,” he said.
Against this backdrop, Governor Ambode, urged the private sector to step-up and join the state government toward sustaining a Greener Lagos.
According to him, areas like the Adeniji Adele loop at Third Mainland Bridge; Oshodi under Bridge; Ile-Zik along Agege Motor Way; Sure-P site, Tollgate, Iyana Oworo at Oworosoki; Apakun under Bridge along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, among others, have been transformed to beautiful parks and are now places of relaxation, family retreats, reunions, children excursions and places for individual relaxation and renewal.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Environment, Babatunde Adejare, who commended LASPARK for putting-up the programme, stated that the need for collaboration between the state government and private sector for effective greenery of the state’s urban space cannot be overemphasized.
Adejare said: “We can build and share knowledge around emerging green infrastructure as well as technologies and policy issues. Also, we can jointly facilitate shared ideas on how to encourage adoption of green infrastructure technologies in the state.
“Green business is a smart business. Going green provides a bottom-line cost savings, as well as competitive advantage in the market place. We must realize that the issues of environment involve promoting the general well-being of the citizenry. It is therefore of utmost importance that we ensure private sector engagement and partnership at all time,” he said.