The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government remains committed to creating a safe, resilient and sustainable urban environment for the people of the State.
Obaseki, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, said the government is making headway with the State’s 30-year development plan, tackling environmental degradation, and has embarked on massive regeneration of the forests in the State, encouraging the private sector participants to own forest lands and plant trees that will not be harvested in the next 30 to 40 years.
According to the governor, “We are taking advantage of the urbanization we are witnessing today to build a very resilient urban environment for our people. Benin City alone is home to 50 percent of the population of Edo State.
“There’s nothing bad about urbanization but our responsibility as government is to make this urban environment resilient, sustainable and strong.
”He added, “Urbanization can pull some challenges including overcrowding which Benin City is facing seriously. Environmental pollution and degradation is another issue which led to the setting up of the Edo Forestry Commission to deal with the issues of forestry.
We have embarked on massive regeneration of the forest, encouraging private people to own forest land and plant trees that will not be harvested in the next 30 to 40 years.
”The governor further noted: “Since 2016 we came into office. We have had to deal with one nagging issue which is the physical structures of Edo State where we witnessed massive rural migration to major cities not designed or planned to accommodate the habitat settling in them. We remember the unfortunate situation we had up to 2016 and 2017, emanating from the high rate of migration, and human trafficking; as all these put pressure on the City.
“To administer Edo State as a government, we had to create a plan for the future of the State and we embarked on the design of the Edo State Regional and Benin City Urban Master Plan. We procured the services of a specialist to fly over our State and we now have a very accurate and digital map of what our State looks like from that exercise.
“This information brought in experts to produce the Edo State Regional and Benin City Urban Master Plan which will last over 30 years. Long before now, Edo people have always planned their habitats, but the master plan developed in the 60s has expired.
”He reassured, “We are keen on greening and cleaning our environment. We should take advantage of the environment rather than destroying it. We are keen on cleaning the cities and making them green. Our goal as a government is to restore urban city Benin to its natural state of being in the rain forest.”