In its determination to tackle environment related matters and ensure its contribution to the economic development, Kogi state last week lifted ban on logging and other forestry activities, and also flagged off the 2017 tree planting season across the state.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Elder Simon Achuba, also inaugurated the state Inter-Ministerial Committee on climate change, and presentation of the Kogi State Forestry Tarrif regulation and the drafted Kogi Forestry law, at the Stakeholders Sensitisation Forum on Climate and Tree Planting in LokojJa.
Bello said that the government had placed the ban on logging and forestry activities in the state on March 17, 2016,because the state was not able to have internal control of its forests,the Deputy Governor Elder Simon Achuba who represented the governor at the occasion asserted.
“We had placed a ban on the forest to ensure that the right thing is done and all the necessary things have been put in place, hence the need to reopen the forest; I hereby declared the states forests reopened.
“Today, the state will also flag off 2017 tree planting season to promote the state afforestation. So, we encourage all of us to plant trees in our various homes, schools and business premises to protect our environment.
“The government declared state of emergency on environment in Kogi to ensure proper management of our environment. We have also recruited forest guards to ensure that our forests are protected.
“Environment is not only about forest, but also connected to all human activities; environmental issues are very important and should not be neglected.
He therefore urged the people to ensure that they live in clean environments to prevent outbreak of sicknesses and diseases, as they are all stakeholders on the issue of environment, and should ensure proper personal hygiene.
The governor, however, warned the forest guards to abide by the rules and regulations guiding forestry operations, saying, “if you are found wanting, you will surely face the wrath of the law”.
He also expressed appreciation with the state Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs. Rosemary Osikoya, and her team for being proactive in tackling the issues affecting the environment in the state, adding that the opening of forests would create employment opportunity for the people of Kogi state.
In her address, Mrs. Osikoya, said the government was committed to sustainable utilisation of forestry produce, saying that the enforcement of the forestry tariff would commence immediately.
She urged private sector and individuals to assist government in paying for the provision of tree seedlings and actively participating in tree planting and waste management activities across the state.
The commissioner reiterated the state government’s desire to partner with the business community, corporate organisations, volunteers, individuals, groups and religious bodies in afforestation activities.
“The state government had earmarked 20 hectares of land for 2017 tree planting season and has put in place the framework that will enable the state to effectively and efficiently manage its forests and environment
“We must be very proactive in managing disaster in our environment. We are putting the necessary arrangements in place to assist Kogi state in case of any flood emergency situation,” the Commissioner maintained.
Idris Ahmed- Lokoja,