Obaseki charges Edo Assembly on Forestry Commission Bill

…to include Forestry in Basic Education Curriculum

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called on the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) to expedite action on the Forestry Commission Bill to give legal backing to the state’s efforts at managing her forest resources.

Obaseki made the call at the second Edo State Multi-Stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustainable Palm Oil Development in Edo State, held in Benin City.

The governor said if his administration identifies a competent person to drive the forestry programme, before the bill is passed, it may explore the option of an Executive Order to implement his vision for the sector.

According to him, “When we identify a competent person, we shall hire him or her and begin the process of ensuring we define the agenda along the principles we have agreed on and commence implementation.”

He said his administration is not afraid to take a critical decision that will positively affect the people of the state and future generations.

Noting that the state is already considering creative and sustainable ways of driving consciousness on the need to preserve forests, he said, “Forestry is one subject that we will introduce in the curriculum of our basic education system in the state to inculcate in pupils the importance of our forest reserves.”

Obaseki said one of the problems Nigeria faces is poor environmental practices and called on stakeholders to ensure they join hands with the government to stop the degradation of forests, as failure to do so will result in dire consequences in the next 25 years.

“We are facing a looming disaster and if nothing is done quickly and urgently, all of us will be consumed as our economy will be affected,” he argued.

The governor said his administration is rolling out a lot of initiatives to stimulate economic growth such as the over 70-hectare Emotan Gardens estate, where a pilot phase has commenced.

“If this project succeeds, then we will be building about 3,000 to 5,000 housing units per year but the question is where do we get the wood from?” He queried.

He called on participants to agree on principles and come out with a clear implementable programme from the stakeholders’ workshop, noting that “This workshop is for us to agree on principles, put up a plan and make it happen.”

Africa Regional Director, Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA) 2020, Mr. Abraham Baffoe, thanked participants at the workshop for their inputs.

He added that the body has generated data from its tour of the forest reserves in the state and lamented that the findings are not encouraging.

He said, “95 per cent of Iguobazuwa Forest Reserve is degraded; at Okomu Forest Reserve, 64 per cent has been degraded while that of Ekiadolor has witnessed 89 per cent degradation.”

Obaseki charges Edo Assembly on Forestry Commission Bill
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki (middle); Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Prince Joe Okojie (right); and Managing Director, Okomu Oil Plc, Dr. Graham Hefer (left), during the second Edo State Multi-Stakeholders’ Workshop on Sustainable Palm Oil Development, at Protea Hotel, in Benin City, Edo State.



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