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Edo to partner FG on Okomu National Park, works on forestry bill

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
07 March 2022   |   3:44 am
Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration will partner the Federal Government on the management of the Okomu National Park to revitalise the park and strengthen security in the area.

Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration will partner the Federal Government on the management of the Okomu National Park to revitalise the park and strengthen security in the area.

Obaseki disclosed this on Thursday while addressing the conservator of the Okomu National Park, Mr. Augustine Obekpa, when he visited the park in Udo, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the state.

The governor also hinted of plans to send a forestry bill to the Edo State House of Assembly for consideration to bolster efforts at protecting the state’s forest reserves.

He noted: “We are going to be sending a forestry bill to the Edo State House of Assembly for consideration next week. We will make sure that we expand the law beyond forestry assets to also cover the natural assets found around the forest.

“We want to collaborate with the National Park Service. I will visit the Minister of Environment to offer her a certain proposal to allow the Edo State Government to jointly manage the park with the Federal Government because this is our resource.”

Obaseki continued: “With that collaboration, it means that we would put in more resources. We would like to increase the number of rangers and park officers to protect not only this park, but also some other reserves that are around us here, particularly the Okumo Reserve and the Gelegele Reserve.

“We will pay for the new hires under such an arrangement. We will upgrade your training, as well as provide more facilities and amenities for the park.

“Nobody will come here if they don’t feel secure and safe. This does not apply only to the park and the resources around this area, but it is important for people to know that they are secure when they come in to enjoy nature.”

“We will make sure that we improve the security of this park and expose the beauty and ecotourism opportunities of the park,” he added.

In his remarks, the conservator of the Okomu National Park said the park is home to white-throated monkeys, Buffalo and Elephants, noting that farming, hunting and illegal logging was affecting the natural habitats of the animals. Obekpa appealed to the governor for logistics support to enable them to effectively protect the forest assets.