Governor Hope Uzodinma
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma has advocated the use of digital technology for the management of forests in Nigeria, saying it would make the fight against the use of forests for criminal activities easier.
The Governor stated this Thursday at the programme of the inauguration of the Imo State Command of the Nigerian Hunters and Forestry Security Service (NHFSS) which took place at the Youth Centre, Owerri.
Represented by the state Commissioner for Digital Economy, Dr. Chimezie Amadi, Uzodinma said the easiest way to make the job of the Forestry Security Service easier and more effective was through what he called Digital Forest, whereby modern technology is deployed, which he said would also engender millions of jobs for the youths joining the Service.
He, therefore, pledged to partner with the leadership of the NHFSS in the area of training and other aspects for the Service’s officers and men.
The Commander General of the NHFSS, Ambassador Dr. Osetimehim Joshua, while speaking after inaugurating the Imo State Command, praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts in the fight against terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the country, adding that the NHFSS was prepared and ready to contribute to the fight against crimes, especially illegal activities that are carried out from the forests.
He charged officers and men of the Imo State Command to be up and doing to ensure that the use of forests and farms by gunmen and others for heinous crimes, is brought to an end.
He warned against internal bickering in the Imo State command and affirmed that Dr. Fabian Iwuoha is the authentic NHFSS Commander of the state.
The Commander General, while thanking Governor Hope Uzodinma for sending a powerful delegation to the programme, solicited the support of the Governor in adding his voice to the call for President Buhari to sign the NHFSS Bill into law, as according to him, that would help in equipping the Service with the necessary legal and operational tools for effective service delivery.
”We are aware of the security challenges facing Imo State and the efforts of the Governor in confronting them with the view of making the state safe for living and for business.
“While commending the Governor of his efforts, let me assure His Excellency that the Hunters and Forestry Security Service would play necessary roles to complement the Police and other Security agencies in combating insecurity and other crimes in Imo State, especially when the Bill is signed by Mr. President,” he stated.
He commended some state governors for adopting NHFSS into their states security system, training of their personnel as well as donation of operational vehicles to enhance their jobs and solicited the same support from Imo State Governor.
In his own speech, the Assistant Commander General, Technical Services, Chief Johnny Chukwudi Metchie, a United Nations Peace Ambassador, said the job of the NHFSS is not only about preventing criminals from using the forests to commit crimes, but includes the protection and preservation of the forests from abuse which he said is also a most efficient way to protect the ecosystem.
Chief Metchie who is also the President General of Umueri community in Anambra state said- “at NHFSS, we are also concerned about the crucial role of our Service in the protection of the entire ecosystem, climate and wildlife.
“This is because the abuse of nature, especially the shrinking of forests through illegal activities like logging has impacted negatively on the ecosystem, badly affected global climate condition which in turn is the major cause of depletion of ozone layers with resultant global warming, flooding, desertification, hurricanes and tsunamis, among others.
“I, therefore, believe that Hunters and Forest Security Service, working with the Nigeria Police, NSCDC and other security agencies, would play eminent role in protecting the forests from abuse as well as give morale to farmers to go back to their farms and produce food for our teeming population,” Metchie stated.
The National Adviser to the NHFSS, retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Akpan, traced his years of relationship with Imo State as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria and regretted the insecurity affecting the state and others in the country.
He said that the NHFSS working with Police and other security agencies would help to restore the glory of the state in terms of security and peace.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Imo state Commander, Dr. Fabian Iwuoha, thanked the CG, Dr. Osatimehin for coming to inaugurate the state command with many national officers, despite the security challenges in the state.
He promised that with the support of the national leadership of the Service, Imo state command would become a model for other states in a not too distant time.
Other dignitaries at the event include the Imo State Commissioner of Police who was represented by ACP Musa Ibrahim, CN Nwobi who represented the state Comptroller of the Nigerian Correctional Centre (former Prison), representative of the NSCDC, the chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya and the Executive Secretary of the International Organisation for Food, Shelter and Empowerment, Ambassador Declan Okwudiri Oguino, among others.
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