The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has restated his commitment to restore the forest belt in the state with support from private investors as part of the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP).
The governor said this in commemoration of Mother Earth Day, celebrated yearly by the United Nations and its agencies.
According to him, “As we mark the International Mother Earth Day, we are reminded of the need to restore the earth and ensure the survival of the ecosystem that supports life and living.
“In Edo State, we are committed to protecting our flora and fauna, ensuring that concerted efforts are made to protect biodiversity and sustain our unique ecosystem.”
He noted that the state sits on an exquisite rainforest belt, which affords it the opportunity of exploring the production of cash crops, adding that it will not sacrifice the needs of its communities in the pursuit of commercial gains.
Noting that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have slowed down some of the efforts to preserve the earth, the governor urged for more concerted efforts among stakeholders to keep to agreements to protect the earth.
Obaseki added: “We have commenced an extensive plantation development plan through the ESOPP and have given out over 40,000 hectares of land to private investors to grow oil palm. However, because we are careful about the impact of these activities on the environment and the earth, we mandated that the investors should develop the depleting forest belts along the communities where they are developing the plantation.”
He further called for more support for the government’s reforestation drive, urging more investors to commit to sustaining the forest belt and preserving the ecosystem.