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Deforestation: Edo govt charges forest patrol team on intensified operations

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…warns against illegal sawing, felling of under-girth trees

The Edo State Government has charged forest officers to intensify patrols across forest reserves in the state, to curb deforestation which threatens the state’s forest assets and environment.

Forestry Department of Edo State Ministry of Environment and Sustainability, in Benin City, Edo State.

Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Dame Omoua Oni-Okpako Esq., who was represented by Director, Administration and Supply in the ministry, Mr. Clement Agatha, gave the charge while commissioning newly acquired motorcycles to aid the patrol of the interiors of the state’s forest reserves, especially sections that are inaccessible to vehicles.

According to her, Edo State is one of the few states in Nigeria which can still boast of some sizeable forest estate endowed with vast natural resources and now faced with serious and accelerated decline in forest resources due to illegal and indiscriminate felling of trees, invasion of the high forest by Cocoa migrant farmers, among others.

Oni-Okpako said to reverse the ugly trend, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration purchased 39 motorcycles for the Forestry Department to enable it intensify patrols of the forest, adding, “this laudable action by the governor has to be complemented with action. All foresters and timber contractors and saw millers must know that it is no longer business as usual.

“Forest officers especially the uniform field staff should wake up to their responsibilities of fighting illegalities in the forest and make sure that the laws are strictly adhered to. The essence of purchasing these motorcycles is to intensify patrol in the interiors of the forest reserves that are inaccessible to vehicles especially the creeks as well as to check the removal of forest produce by concessioners.”

The commissioner warned that the state government will not hesitate in prosecuting “illegal Taungya farmers and migrant cocoa farmers, land grabbers and other perpetrators of illegal activities such as those who indulge in illegal sawing in the forest, popularly referred to as “Rough-Saw” and felling of the under-girth to desist from the illicit act.”

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