Rita Enemuru, Reporting
THE Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, says the government has finalized the documentation of forests and set up a forestry commission as a way of enhancing security in the state.
Stating security to be the state’s utmost priority, Obaseki averred that efforts were being put in place to update forestry laws that have not been updated in the last 50 years.
Obaseki disclosed this at a Special Security Council Meeting with relevant stakeholders in Edo South Senatorial District held at the Government House, Benin City.
The governor held similar meetings with stakeholders in Edo North and Edo Central Senatorial District to review security strategies and mechanisms to tackle insecurity in Edo.
Governor Obaseki also noted the commencement of new forest police recruitment to support the activities of all the other security agencies.
He said, “The responsibility of any government in any society is to guarantee the security and safety of the people.
“No government can call itself a government if it cannot protect and secure the lives of the people that it oversees.
“That is why for us in Edo, given what is going on in the country today, we have decided that security is now our number one priority.
“In the area of our forests, we have completed documentation and audit of all our forests in Edo State, particularly in Edo South.
“We have done a flyover of all our forests and as we speak, we have set up a new forestry commission.
“Our forestry laws that have not been updated in more than 50 years now have been updated. And part of the provisions of the law is that we will now re-energize the institution of forest guards.
“We are currently in discussion with the Federal Ministry of Environment and some other stakeholders to begin the recruitment of the first set of the new forest police as we will call them to support the activities of all the other security agencies.”
He also emphasized on enforcing local government laws to specify the registration of markets only by the local government and the shutdown of illegal markets.
“In terms of squatters in markets, we are going to enforce the local government laws which stipulate that it is only the local government that is entitled to register markets and shut down illegal markets.
“Any place where trading is currently taking place today and such a place has not been registered will be immediately shut down,” the governor warned.