...To begin recruitment of forest police
By Gabriel Enogholase, BENIN
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the government had finalised the documentation and audit of the state’s forests and was embarking on the recruitment of new forest police as part of a renewed effort to enhance security across the state.
He disclosed this in Benin City at a Special Security Council meeting with relevant stakeholders in Edo South senatorial district, weekend.
The governor had earlier held similar meetings with stakeholders in Edo North and Edo Central senatorial districts to review security strategies and mechanisms to tackle insecurity in the state.
Obaseki said the government was partnering relevant stakeholders to strengthen the security architecture and was adopting various measures to sustain security in the state, including bush combing, registration of motorbikes and marketplaces, signing of the anti-grazing laws, and residents’ registration, among others.
He said: “The responsibility of any government in any society is to guarantee the security and safety of the people. No government can call itself a government if it cannot protect and secure the lives of the people that it oversees.
“That is why for us in Edo, given what is going on in the country today, we have decided that security is now our number one priority. In the area of our forests, we have completed documentation and audit of all our forests in Edo State, particularly in Edo South.
“We have done a flyover of all our forests and as we speak, we have set up a new forestry commission.
“Our forestry laws that have not been updated in more than 50 years now have been updated. And part of the provisions of the law is that we will now re-energize the institution of forest guards.
“We are currently in discussion with the Federal Ministry of Environment and some other stakeholders to begin the recruitment of the first set of the new forest police as we will call them to support the activities of all the other security agencies.”
On strengthening local governments to support the government’s efforts at sustaining security across the state, Obaseki noted: “In terms of squatters in markets, we are going to enforce the local government laws, which stipulate that it is only the council that is entitled to register markets and shut down illegal markets.
“Any place where trading is currently taking place today and such a place has not been registered will be immediately shut down,” the governor added.