Kwara State Government Monday, announced a month closure of the forest for all activities except farming, expressing worries that indiscriminate activities in the forest are fast disrupting the state’s ecosystem and exposing it to severe effects of climate change.
Commissioner for Environment Architect Aliyu Saifudeen, at a briefing said among others “The (government) is very worried about the rate of wanton deforestation for both legal and illegal purposes such as charcoal and other wood resources/products without commensurate regeneration,”
“This is causing a tremendous imbalance in our ecosystem and Climate Change. Accordingly, the ministry has taken a painful decision to ‘close the forest’ for all kinds of activities for a minimum period of one month and maximum of three beginning from the 2nd of March to 31st of May 2020.
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“This will enable us take stock of what is left of that natural endowment for further action and the inventory of what goes on therein. Consequently, all economic activities except farming are hereby suspended within the period forthwith with offenders liable to prosecution.
“During and at the end of the closure, all those who have any business to do with the forest are required to make themselves available to the ministry for fresh registration, including farmers whose farmlands are in excess of 25 hectares.”
Saifudeen said the government would embark on massive tree planting to be flagged off by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Environment Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar later in May, noting “There is a policy of cut one tree and plant five and for each new site being developed a number of trees be planted. This has not been complied with totally. A strict adherence to this policy would have salvaged to an extent our predicament of deforestation.”
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Saifudeen, who announced ongoing sensitisation of the populace on the need to sanitise their state, said the government would also embark on enforcement of the law banning obstruction of traffic flow through indiscriminate trading on roadsides and median and street begging.
He said “We have received positive feedbacks as it concerns ‘Post Office’ and ‘Challenge’ junctions. I want to use this opportunity to call on road users to adhere to the traffic rules and to our traders to desist forthwith from displaying their wares including firewood on the roads especially on the pedestrian walk ways. Another major concern is the invasion of our road median by beggars and refuse. Affected areas are mostly at Oja Oba, Gambari, Balogun Fulani, Ipata, Idi Ape etc.”