As the world celebrated the 2018 International Day of Forest (IDF), the Oyo State Government has warned members of the public to desist from illegal tree felling and indiscriminate bush burning.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi gave this warning while declaring open 2018 International Day of Forest (IDF), held at Methodist Grammar School, Bodija area, Ibadan, saying that offenders shall be punished accordingly.
Prince Oyewumi, speaking through the Special Adviser on Agriculture to Governor Ajimobi, Prof. Adetokunbo Adekunle noted that the importance of trees in our society cannot be over-estimated, explaining that environment without availability of trees is prone to hazard and it is advisable for all to plant at least a tree so as to ensure a greener environment.
He stated that the present administration in the State has restored all depleted forests through collaboration with the local and foreign investors to ensure afforestation, stressing that government has signed Memorandum of Understanding with the private investors on the need for reforestation of the degraded forest reserves which is yielding positive result.
The Commissioner explained that the degraded forests were as a result of illegal felling, disclosing that government has placed surveillance on the forest reserves to apprehend those who are involved in the illegal act.
While planting the trees to commemorate 2018 International Day of Forest, Prince Oyewumi however called on all and sundry to imbibe tree planting, adding that planting of trees is now necessary in order to achieve greener, healthier, happier and sustainable environment.
In his lecture with the theme “Forest for Sustainable Cities”, the Patron of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) forest Centre, Dr. David Oladiipo explained that every 21st of March has been set aside to celebrate the International Day of Forest by the United Nations (UN) due to the importance of tree to humanity which cannot be over emphasized, noting that deforestation in Africa as a result of inadequate sensitization and awareness is making the environment dryer.
Dr. Oladiipo, maintained that afforestation is a collective responsibility as the government cannot do it alone and consequently called on the State government to implement a policy at which approval must be given before land can be cleared.
He also enjoined the School principals to inaugurate Young Forester and Tree Clubs among the students.
In her own speech, the Director, Federal Comptroller of Environment, Oyo State, Mrs Aina Adetola called on the State Government to place more priority on the forest reserves, noting that majority of the forest are becoming degraded because of illegal felling.