By Mike Adeyemi
The Kwara State Goverenment has reinstated her commitment to protect its forests from both local and foreign invaders.
The state Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Arch. Aliyu Mohammed Saifudeen stated this during a briefing with newsmen in his office, recently.
According to him,’ the illegal activities of foreigners on the soil of Kwara State has come to the state’s notice and we are going to fight them.
“We were set to embark on afforestation in the state, no thanks to Covid-19 which has hampered us, he said.
Saifudeen added that one of the biggest challenges faced by his ministry is how to maintain the state’s bio-diversity.
“This Ministry has to maintain our bio-diversity. We have to keep the forest intact. So, that was a big challenge to us.
“When we came in, the forest was foist with all forms of activities, as such we need to raid the forest of all illegal activities which include, illegal timbering and charcoal in particular.
“Up till this moment we are still battling it. So at the end of the day, we had to close the forest for a whole one week. Though there were outcries from different quarters. In fact, that decision was adjudged one that has impact in the recent time.”
On whether the Kwara State Government has in place a coherent policy on afforestation and deforestation, the commissioner said, “it is not a matter of policy in place or not. We have more than enough policies on ground. There are laws governing forest activities and harvesting of forest products, but people don’t obey these laws.
“For instance, in Kwara State since 2005, there is a law of the State House of Assembly that ban the outright storage, production of charcoal. Before we came in, you see charcoal has flooded the state.
He added that the clampdown on Charcoal Dealers in the state has already taken effect, as the ministry had issued letter to all the stakeholders.
“We’ve stated to sensitize the people. In fact, just last week, we wrote letters to all the stakeholders in this matter. We told them that this thing remain banned. Very soon we are going to set up a task force, “he concluded.
By Mike Adeyemi