Representing Da Vincent Gwott Choji family, the grandson Damen Choji, a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, is leading the Lekki Million Trees initiative, a community-driven effort aimed at fostering a culture of tree planting in the local environment. Expressing his belief in the transformative power of this initiative, Damen emphasizes the importance of every child planting at least one tree in their surroundings.
Beyond the visual appeal of a greener landscape, Damen highlights the multifaceted benefits of tree planting, emphasizing its positive impact on biodiversity and the creation of a more resourceful habitat for both humans and animals. He asserts, “I believe that trees can help with mental health in society.”
Damen goes on to underscore the critical role trees play in mitigating climate change and global warming, citing their contribution to various aspects of life. He envisions a future where the widespread planting of trees in Nigeria will make the country more resourceful, beautiful, and renowned on a global scale.
The core principle of the initiative is to encourage tree planting in every possible location. The Choji family, in particular, is actively promoting this cause, recognizing the indispensable role trees play in sustaining human life by providing essential oxygen. Damen states, “Without trees, I’m not sure we will be able to cope.”
The Choji family’s commitment goes beyond personal benefit, as they strive to raise awareness and engage the community in the importance of tree planting for current and future generations. Their initiative aligns with the broader goal of making society cognizant of the crucial role trees play, not only for individual well-being but for the betterment of the entire community.
On his part, Dr. Augustine Onwumere, Chairman of PWAN Group, the world’s first real estate network marketing firm, emphasized the vital role of trees in maintaining a healthy environment.
Dr. Onwumere highlighted the interconnectedness of trees with human well-being, illustrating how the natural oxygen emitted by trees rejuvenates cells and contributes to a fresher appearance. Underlining the essence of tree planting, he asserted, “Tree is life and life is tree. Everything we eat is a plant, but when we remove trees, we forget to plant them back, disrupting the natural ecosystem.”
Expressing personal commitment, Dr. Onwumere shared his love for planting trees, citing examples from his home in VGC. He stressed the importance of integrating trees into both residential and office spaces, enhancing aesthetics and contributing to the well-being of inhabitants.
Also speaking, Alhaji Sulyman Bello, President of the Lekki Estate Resident & Stakeholders Association (LERSA), expanded on the initiative’s broader mission. He emphasized that the endeavour goes beyond merely planting trees; it is about safeguarding the environment and, by extension, preserving the existence of Lekki Peninsula.
Bello noted collaborations with partners, including Lagos State Government, Eti-Osa Local Government, Ibeju Lekki Local Government, and Lekki Concession Company, demonstrating a commitment to the long-term maintenance of the planted trees. The initiative, starting with a goal of one million trees, aims to cover Eti-Osa LCDA, Victoria Island LCDA, Ibeju Lekki Local Government, and Lekki LCDA.
Dr. Joseph Daniel Onoje, Director-General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, applauded the initiative’s alignment with their goal of creating green spaces for positive human well-being. Stressing the invaluable benefits of trees on physiological and emotional health, Dr. Onoje highlighted that trees contribute to healthier lives, reducing healthcare costs.
The collaborative effort between LERSA, the late Vincent Choji family, and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation resonates with the shared vision of greening the Lekki environment.
Dr. Onoje concluded by encouraging everyone to participate in planting trees, emphasizing the immeasurable value nature provides to humanity through the free gift of natural oxygen.
In essence, Damen Choji’s Lekki Million Trees initiative stands as a beacon for community-driven environmental stewardship, inspiring individuals and families to actively contribute to the cultivation of a greener and more sustainable future.
Also speaking at the event, Prince David Omaghomi, a distinguished Trustee of the Eco-Restoration Foundation and a member of Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA), has passionately endorsed the flag-off of the 1 million trees initiative along the Lekki-Epe corridor. This initiative serves as a continuation of ongoing efforts to green the peninsula and fortify it against the looming threat of coastal erosion.
Addressing the critical issue of oceanification, Prince David emphasized the vulnerability of Lekki, Victoria Island, and Ikoyi, all situated below sea level. He warned of the impending risk, predicting that without intervention, these areas could be lost to the ocean within a couple of decades.
Prince David elucidated on the strategic role of tree planting in mitigating oceanification and ensuring the preservation of the economic security of the corridor. He stated, “Conserving the environment helps to conserve the future and your investment. This initiative is about wealth preservation, ensuring the safety of future generations and safeguarding multi-billion dollar investments in real estate, industrialization, and the general economic life on Lagos Island.”
Urging the active involvement of Lagosians, Prince David called for collective action in planting trees, suggesting various avenues for contribution.
He encouraged adopting a stretch, engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, and even celebrating events like birthdays by requesting trees instead of traditional gifts.
Highlighting the progress made so far, Prince David shared, “With Eco-Restoration Foundation, LERSA, and LASPAC, we have already planted 50% of the trees on the corridor from the Admiralty Tollgate. The target is a million trees over the next few years, and this move is set to scale up efforts, extending from the current location to Epe.”
The collaborative endeavor between the Eco-Restoration Foundation, LERSA, and LASPAC underscores the commitment to environmental sustainability, aiming not only for a greener corridor but also the preservation of the economic vitality of this crucial region in Lagos.