The Chief Executive Officer of Saro Group of Companies and Chairman of ESOPP Agro Allied Limited, Mr. Rasheed Sarumi; Prof. M.E Isikhuemen, a Professor of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), and Mr. Abraham Baffoe, Africa Regional Director, Proforest, are among guests expected at the inauguration of the Edo State Forestry Commission scheduled to take place in Benin City on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.
The event will serve as a forum for experts in forestry ecosystem and other stakeholders to chart a new path and strengthen strategies to tackle deforestation and forest degradation and enhance the conservation and development of the state’s forest assets.
The inauguration to be held at the Okomu National Park in Udo, Ovia South West Local Government Area of the State will bring together stakeholders including forest experts, international organizations, research institutes, zoological parks, non-governmental organizations, the academia, wood processing companies, plantation partners, oil palm companies, timber associations, bench millers, and traditional rulers, among others.
Other dignitaries expected at the event are Mr. Tunde Morakinyo, Executive Director, Africa Nature Investors (ANI) Foundation, and Dr. Chris Okafor, Senior Program Manager Sustainable Trade Investment (IDH), Mr. Billy Ghansah, Agric. Coordinator, Okomu Oil Palm Company; Mr. Lawrence Osaze, the Conservator of Park, Okomu National Park and Mr. Friday Aiguokhian, the Chairman, Edo State Sawmillers Association.
Speaking to journalists, Acting Chairman of the Association, Edward Obiaw said the inauguration will provide a platform for the stakeholders to review gains and develop new path to strengthening the government’s efforts at the conservation, management, and development of Edo forests.
According to him, “Forest reserves were set aside for countless reasons, including preserving natural resources for future generations. However, over the years, human activities have led to the loss and degradation of forest lands, and the forest reserves in Edo State are not left out.
“To reverse this trend, sustainable management of our forest resources, regeneration of degraded forest lands, and conservation of our natural forest resources must be carried out strategically.
“It is for this reason that the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, saw the establishment of the Edo State Forestry Commission by law assented to on the 2nd of November, 2022.”
He added, “This Commission will be inaugurated by His Excellency on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, to drive the government’s plan for the conservation, management, and development of Edo forests.”