Edo State government has warned against illegally felling of tress as it would be firm in dealing with people who contravenes the law.
Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State who stated this at the Tree Peace Planting Exercise at the Ehor Forest Reserve in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area said, weekend, government would adopt pro-active measures on tree planting, environmental cleanness, erosion and flood control in the State.
Oshiomhole said: “I like to use the occasion to warn that government would be more firm in dealing with all those involved in illegal felling of trees. We must use the method of carrot and stick. If you are caught felling trees recklessly in a manner that has not been authorized in clear violation of our laws and our commitment to protect the forests, government will not only step in, but ensure you are severely punished”.
The Governor while flagging off the 2013 tree planting campaign, supported by the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Bert Ronhaar said: “it is important to begin not only to talk tough but act even tougher. We must recognize that it does not make sense to fell ten trees and then plant two to replace them.
“I invite all of you to be genuine stakeholders. Don’t see the forest as a place to be devastated. The government and the people must work together to protect the forest”, he noted.
The Governor said government on its part will enact and enforce environmental regulations and co-operate with relevant organizations to ensure adherence to environmental regulations to check the general problems of flooding and erosion.
Oshiomhole said, “in recognition of the role the forest plays in the environment, government recently revoked 109,000 hectares of de-reserved lands with a singular view to regenerating them. I like to mention that as part of our 2013 tree planting campaign, my government has released 50,000 tree seedlings for planting in Ehor Forest Reserve.”
He disclosed that, “we have now planted over 750,000 trees between 2009 and 2012 with the first tree planted by my wife Clara Oshiomhole, of blessed memory and I have given a new target of two million trees seedling capacity for our Nurseries and I am confident that this would be achieved before the end of my second term”.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Environment and Public Utilities, Prince Clem Agba said this government is conscious of the threat posed by climate change and has demonstrated a commitment to reviving the situation.
Prince Agba acknowledged the support of the African Initiative for World Peace, a non-governmental organization for partnering with Edo State Government to protect the forest.
The high point of the exercise was the planting of the peace trees in memory of Edo first Lady, by Governor Oshiomhole and the Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ronhaar who planted trees in memory of the victims of the 9/11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre in the U.S.