Oyebanji inaugurates Ekiti forest guards to protect reserves

Oyebanji inaugurates Ekiti forest guards to protect reserves

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The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, has inaugurated a team of forest guards to protect and flush out criminal elements from the state’s forest reserves.

The governor further directed the team to synergise with the security agencies to flush out kidnappers and other nefarious criminals that are using Ekiti forests as hideouts and inflicting terror on the citizens.

Oyebanji said that his government had mapped out strategies in partnership with some stakeholders to increase the forest potential of Ekiti for improved economy, ecosystem and atmospheric conditions that could bring about healthy living and prolonged life expectancy of the people.

Represented by his Deputy, Chief Monisade Afuye, the governor spoke on Thursday at an event with the theme, “Forests and Innovation: New Solution for a Better World”, to mark the 2024 edition of the International Day of Forests and official passing out of the newly recruited forestry officials.

Oyebanji said the newly employed officials, as part of efforts to address the ugly trend in deforestation and illegal activities of criminals in the forests included 22 foresters, 18 boundary men and 10 technicians.

According to him, “Our government has been working tirelessly to ensure that forest estate is totally free from kidnappers and other evil perpetrators like illegal tree fellers, who are destroying our economic trees.”

He said that his administration would equip the workforce of the Forestry Commission to be able to deliver on the mandate of helping to improve the Internally Generated Revenue of the state geometrically.

The Executive Secretary, Ekiti State Forestry Commission, Sunday Adekunle, said that the government was currently nursing 60,000 seedlings of various species at Erunfun Nursery that would be sold to interested members of the public to boost plantation agriculture.

Adekunle explained that the government would also partner with all relevant agencies to tackle forest desertification, pursue a robust forest regeneration policy and propel efficient monitoring of all forests to contribute to the atmospheric and economic development of the state.

He enlisted the support of the government and Ekiti people towards forest development “because of its enormous benefits to the people, environment and planet. We can resolve to plant a tree that will make that forest today.

“Apart from reducing carbon emissions and producing fresh air, plants have benefits such as beautification of the environment. I welcome you to be part of the revolution to regenerate and replenish our environment by planting a tree to improve health, food security and access to healthier lifestyles.”

The State Commissioner for Environment, Mrs Tosin Aluko-Ajisafe, expressed the government’s readiness to invest huge resources to keep the forest reserves in good shape, adding that a total of two million tree seedlings would be planted in 2024 to shore up the state’s forest potential.

Aluko stated that the government would contrive many innovations to improve afforestation and make Ekiti viable in the sector to return Ekiti to the old good days when forestry contributed to the growth of the economy.

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