By Ikhili Monday EBALU, Benin City
The Government of Edo State has revealed that it would collaborate with the management of Okomu Natural Park to ensure the preservation and protection of the rain forest park and its wildlife, while also assuring the management of the establishment that the state would monitor logging activities and encroachment into the park.
This was on Tuesday at the Edo State Government House, where the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, urged the management to furnish the state government with information on illegal activities in the park.
Noting that the park was a heritage in the state and its conservation was paramount to promote its ecotourism potentials and artistic value, the governor reiterated that his administration was committed to baulking environmental degradation and deforestation within the rain forest zones in the state.
He said: “It is in our interest to work with you and you should work with us so that we can re-own our park. We will do what we have to do to preserve the park. We will revoke titles given to land owners within the park,” he said.
Furthermore, Governor Obaseki also disclosed that plans were on the way to establish a forestry commission for better management of forest activities in the state.
Earlier, the Conservator of the Park, Mr Abdullahi Ahmed, said the state government’s support was needed in the protection of bio diversity in the park, which is located in Ovia South West Local Government Area in the state, and in tackling invasion of migrant cocoa farmers as well as stopping logging within the park.
Ahmed explained that the 202km2 park, which was established about 20 years ago, was one of the seven natural parks in the country, and that it had recorded successes in the areas of research, ecotourism promotion and establishment of good relationship with the host community.