Towards ensuring conservation of forests and wildlife parks against economic saboteurs, the present administration in Ogun State says its doors are open to investments in forest reserves.
The State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun disclosed this in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, when he received a team poised to protect the African Elephant, a specie that has its presence at the Omo Forest Reserve, situated between Ogun Waterside and Ijebu North East Local Government area of the State.
Explaining to the team comprising the Principal Promoter, Omo Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-tourism Project and Africa Nature Investors, Abiodun said his administration, on assumption of office, suspended activities in the state’s Forest Reserves, due to indiscriminate felling of trees by some unscrupulous elements, in the quest to make money from the illegal act.
“This is to underscore the importance and priority we place on conserving our forests and trying to ensure sanity; even when we have areas where we can cut down timber, there must be a plan to also regenerate”, he said.
The Governor added that his administration would be setting up a committee, comprising the Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government, Commissioners for Forestry, as well as Culture and Tourism, to synergise with forest reserve investors, in order to preserve elephants, while ensuring the State also benefits from the huge resources of the reserves.
In his remarks, the Principal Promoter, Omo Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-tourism Project Otunba Alaba Shonibare, disclosed that the company was forest reserve friendly and has been ensuring replanting of at least four seedlings to replace the felled tree, adding that their alliance with the present government would boost the economic and revenue generation of the State.
He revealed that the partnership would further help secure about 12 Million Dollars implementation funding, over a five-year period, to execute the wildlife and eco-tourism project, assuring of further investment in infrastructure, renewable energy, skills development and employment.