The Lagos State Government has appealed for understanding and patience on the part of residents over the removal of trees and green areas necessitated by road rehabilitation and urban regeneration works in Ikoyi.
A statement jointly signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. (Mrs.) Aramide Adeyoye and the General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK), Mrs. Adetoun Popoola, explained that four roads in Ikeja, Ikoyi and Victoria Island, respectively, were selected as pilot for the State Urban Regeneration Initiative.
According to the release, the road construction projects tailored after International best practice were preceded by stakeholder engagements with all the participants or attendees taken through the scope, methodology, potential impact and mitigation of the individual and collective projects.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure explained that the government commenced road expansion and drainage projects in parts of Ikoyi to improve the state of road and drainage infrastructure and reduce the risk of flooding.
“In achieving this, disruptions to the environment are not unexpected, which sometimes include felling of long-standing trees and clearing of some already beautified spaces”, Adeyoye said.
She said, “In effect, we understand the concerns of the residents of the area and appeal that the bigger picture, in terms of urban renewal and flood control, gives Ikoyi area the necessary priority.”
Acknowledging the support of the Victoria Island/Ikoyi Residents Association (VIIRA) who anchored the stakeholder meetings held at Thompson Avenue, Milverton Road and Lateef Jakande Road, Engr. Adeyoye gave an assurance that the stakeholder meeting for Macdonald Road would hold before work on the road commences.
She reassured residents that the government is aware of their concerns about the felling of trees, particularly those in the right of way, assuring residents that urban renewal and flood control along Ikoyi axis is given the necessary priority, even as the government relentlessly pursues the development, upgrade and rehabilitation of other areas of the State.
Also speaking on the same issue, the General Manager, LASPARK, Mrs. Adetoun Popoola, stated that Section 432, Part XIII of the Environmental Management and Protection Law 2017 empowers LASPARK to supervise and grant permits for the felling of trees in Lagos.
Popoola maintained that the felling of trees within the right of way alignment was a well-thought-out, strategic and unanimous decision by all relevant stakeholders, including residents under the auspices of Victoria Island/Ikoyi Residents Association (VIIRA).
“The process is also being duly supervised and the appropriate permits to remove some trees were issued to the contractor through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure”, the LASPARK General Manager explained.
While assuring residents that most of the trees removed from the Right of Way would be restored, Popoola pointed out that the LASPARK Law has provisions for a green restoration fee, which has been paid to replant five trees as replacements for each tree felled.
“When re-planted, the trees will continue to function as a viable carbon sink to improve air quality and beautify the environment of the city of Lagos”, she stated.
According to Mrs. Popoola, the Agency has two well-equipped nurseries, where tree seedlings are propagated to ensure seamless restoration, asserting that LASPARK as a responsible Agency under the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources remains committed to creating and maintaining green and healthy spaces for a Greater Lagos.