Eking out a living through flower selling business in Abuja 

Abuja road side flower sellers have conspicuously and strategically located their wares at various places in the city centre and its environs trying to eke out a living either under the scorching sun or rain fall. ADEOLA AKINBOBOLA writes.

It has been observed that many of the road side flower sellers in the FCT have been in the business for years, and over time managed to evolve novel strategies of circumventing and evading the long arm of the law, which forbids street trading and engaging in commercial activities in unauthorised places.

Many first time visitors to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, would mistake them for beautification deliberately initiated by the city planners to portray FCT as a tourist delight.

Although others ventured into it due to pressure from relatives, they have not had cause to look back.

In spite of the seemingly lucrative nature of the business, lack of alternative source of livelihood had informed the decision of many to go into the business.

A roadside seller at Utako, Abuja, James Ibinajo while recounting his experience said he started the business of selling flowers along the road side in FCT in 2010.

According to him, he spent one year as an apprentice under the tutelage of his brother because he had no job at the time. The man gave him some flowers after his apprenticeship.

Recalling his journey into the horticultural business, James , an indigene of Kogi state said the first flower he sold is satellite three but now stock flowers for few offices within Abuja and other states.

Challenges in business 

According to him, business has been very encouraging but their biggest challenge has been the constant harassments from the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) officials for unauthorised sales of wares at prohibited places. 

He said top dealers among us would rally round to pacify the officials before they are allowed to continue with their businesses.

However, Abuja roadside flower sellers are not pushovers. Apart from selling flowers for a living, one of them, James said he has ventured into other businesses such has farming.

At every given opportunity, he said he relishes his business giving insight to the secret for successful planting season.

Poor climate condition on tree and flowers planting 

On the poor climate condition experienced in the world, particularly in Nigeria was due to deforestation, Association of Flower Nursery and Landscaping Practitioners of Nigeria (AFNALPA), has sought N1 billion support from the federal government, to plant 10 million trees across Nigeria.

The president of AFNALPA, Mrs. Mary Omoh, said the government should take the project of tree planting as a duty call as it would undo the effects of deforestation across the country and boost environmental development.

She said: “we are out to celebrate life. Because we know that planting a tree gives life, plant a tree, save a life. That is why we are out today to sensitize the public to make them know the importance of having trees around them.

“We can see the desertification, we can see the climate change all over but all we are trying to do this time is to see how to correct it. And to see how this event can help us to come out with our program that we have with the Great Greenwald. We are planting 10 million trees.

We want them to know what we are planning and how we have gone out to sensitise the people and also want the government to be involved in this event and the funding of this event so that we’ll be able to carry on the 10 million tree campaign that we have been talking about.

“We want the government to support us by founding founding this campaign, because it’s a campaign that will benefit the entire nation is a campaign that will benefit everyone in the nation. So we are inviting all our stakeholders.

The presidency, the minister FCT we have invited every one of them the Minister of environments already partnering with us in this event.”

“we need not be less than 1 billion to fund the 10 million tree planting all over the country. We’re taking it around the country, not just FCT we’re taking the tree planting to: sokoto, kano, Maiduguri, Zamfara, Katsina, Gombe, Abia. We are taking it all through the country.

Many people don’t know about the climate change. How Attend to educate people? We can all feel it. We are feeling it even here. We are feeling especially the heat around us. That’s to tell us that we are running short of plants

The usefulness of trees in the society

Also speaking, the Chairman of organizing committee of AFNALPA, Alhaji Yusuff Ismaila, pointed the needfulness of trees in the society, stating that the Government should make it a primary duty of tree planting across Nigeria.

He said: “We’re actually out today to sensitize the residents of Abuja on the importance of tree. Why do they need to plant trees and we just want to see how we can invite them, let them be at the International Women’s Center that day been on 9th and 10th of March. To to hear more, because we have done quite a lot.

So many things we need to tell you about the plants, starting from the absorption of Carbon monoxide from our environment and also filtering the air, the oxygen we are taking in this plant will make sure you don’t you don’t take in adulterated oxygen.

There are some of our plant that if for any reason even once in a month you are taking it you will be far away from all form of cancer.

“We have some that are anti-snake, reptiles ,some of them that is will be far away from your houses. On the 9th and 10th of march, we want our public to know and be there that day to hear more from us so the ozone layer is depleted.

“Look at the heat from the sun, it wasn’t like this before. So the emission of all this soil do all sorts of things in our atmosphere. If you go to this place, these abattoir where they killed rams now you can see the sky, they are using tires, they bond over 100 tires in a day to rost animals for us, once it touches the ozone layer, it perforate them.

“We don’t have the heavy rainfall again. So a lot these trees, they’re our evoulatory circle that make rain to fall. Trees alone contribute 70% of it without trees that will not get anywhere.”

FG to plant 35 million tree seedlings 

The Acting Director, Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Tiamiyu Oladele, has announced plans by the Federal Government to plant 35 million tree seedlings to accelerate afforestation in the country.

Afforestation is the process of planting trees, or sowing seeds, in a barren land devoid of any trees to create a forest.

He said that President Muhammad Buhari had promised to plant 35 million trees and there were ongoing viable programmes to that effect.

Oladele explained that the department has adopted practical measures to achieve planting at least 30 million tree seedlings this year.

We are expecting 30 million seedlings to be planted this year; some will be given to farmers to establish plantations and some to be used as enrichment planting in our reserves.

“The seedlings will also be made available this year to every Nigerian at locations close to them to plant,” he said

Oladele noted that the rate of deforestation was faster than the rate of tree planting, saying that the government was sensitising communities on the dangers associated with tree felling as well as encourage tree planting in the society. 

“We are sensitising them that if they continue cutting trees at the rate they are doing, they will be out of business very soon because there will be no tree to cut again.

“Apart from going out of business they are also doing damage to the environment and once the environment is wrong our health is at risk”.

According to him, the Department will constitute a task force to monitor tree felling, wood processing and marketing. 

The director revealed that members of the task force would comprise officials of the Federal and State Forestry Departments, private sector, wood dealers, loggers and charcoal producers’ associations.