The Edo State Government has called for the support and collaboration of all stakeholders to restore and preserve forest reserves in the state.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Hon. Osaigbovo Iyoha, gave the charge during a one-day technical session with the theme, “Promoting of forest management for sustainable social and economic development in Edo State.”
The Chief of Staff, represented by Mr. Paul Akhilomen, harped on the need to protect the forest on the basis of its importance to the existence of mankind.
He said: “The forest is very important to our existence; it ensures the sustainability of our wildlife, economy, energy and international trade.
Logging, which is a major part of deforestation, needs to be regulated, as there is huge potential in the industry. If we work together, we can ensure a suitable process is put in place for proper logging.
“We all need to collaborate and work together to protect our forest and make it safe for the existence of mankind.”
On his part, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Hon. Jimoh Ijegbai, said the forest is important to the economy of Edo State.
Ijegbai said: “It’s no longer news that our forest is seriously degraded and it affects everyone in Edo State. We know how important the forest is to the economy of Edo State and it’s good to ensure proper forest management for sustainable social and economic development.”
In a goodwill message, the General Manager of Rongtai Wood Company, Mr. Joneny Lei, promised to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders to ensure the forest cover is restored.
“We have already started our forestation and have about 15,000 hectares of land; we have the best forestation experts who will lead the process.
“We will partner with institutions, give them scholarships and collaborate with them to carry out research. We plan to plant one million seedlings a year and hope to achieve 10 million seedlings in 10 years. We will collaborate with other investors and private bodies to plant one million seedlings a year,” Lei stated.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, Mr. Lucky Wasa, noted that the state government has put various measures in place to restore the ecosystem through various actions and programmes.
He stated that the government is partnering with Rongtai Wood Company for forest regeneration through procurement of 10 million seedlings to boost afforestation across the state in the next 10 years.
He added that “Employment of forest guards to mount the forest reserves, embarking on sensitization and campaign on the need to plant trees and green our environment and environmental clubs have been established in several secondary schools across the state.”