Naomi Gabriel —
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki last Wednesday, during a fact-finding visit to Udo community, Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state, said a forestry bill is about to be sent to the State House of Assembly for consideration, indicating that the move is to deter illegal logging.
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During the visit, Obaseki spoke with the Conservator of Okomo National Park, Mr Augustine Obekpa.
“We will send forestry bill to Edo State House of Assembly for consideration next week and this is to ensure that we expand the law beyond forestry assets to natural assets found around the forest and include it in the bill, the Governor said.
“We want to collaborate with the National Park service. I will visit the Minister of Environment (Chief Sharon Ikeazor, though State) with the proposal that Edo Government should jointly manage the park with the Federal Government since it is our resource.
“With that collaboration, we will put in more resources, increase the force, the number of Rangers and Park Officers who have been protecting the park and the reserves, particularly the Okumo and the Gelegele reserves.
“The collaboration will include hiring more people, upgrading their training, as well as providing more facilities and amenities for the facilities,” he said.
“We have been hearing of nefarious activities of criminal elements in the park, the forest reserves and the Okomu oil company. We are on a fact-finding visit on what has been going on in the park. We want to know the number of attacks, where the attacks have come from and how we can collaborate effectively with the park officials using full security system in the state to deal with the security challenges”.