The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government is hiring forest guards that will be trained and armed to protect the state’s endangered forest reserves for future generations.
The governor disclosed this during a courtesy visit by members of Nigeria REDD+ at the Government House, in Benin City.
The REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, is aimed at contributing to the fight against climate change by preserving forests in specific areas that are considered at risk of deforestation.
“We are taking certain steps already in protecting our forests, but we need more support and guidance. Our forestry assets are among our greatest endowments. Why won’t we protect it for our generations?
“We inherited over 650,000 hectares of forest reserves, but today, we can’t account for more than 135,000 hectares. Is that right? Everybody must come together and protect our forests. For us, as you know, we had some crisis early this year, when we had to shut down the forest to restore some order.
“We are hiring a new generation of forest guards, arming and training them to protect our forests. We believe that the government alone cannot do it, so we are inviting the private sector. We are very hopeful to partner with you in this regard,” he added.
Earlier, the National Coordinator, Nigeria REDD+, Dr. Moses Ama, said that REDD+ is an intervention programme by the United Nations to tackle the challenges of climate change.
According to Ama, REDD+ is ready to partner with the Edo State Government on its forest regeneration project, adding that that the group wants to honour Governor Obaseki as a champion in the REDD+ programme, to be able to tell the story of his efforts to regenerate forests in the state.