Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
In an effort to protect forest reserve, the Kogi State Government has placed a ban on illegal felling of economic trees and trading of sand in the state.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Sanitation and Emergency Management, Mrs. Rosemary Osikaya, made this known when she led members of the Task Force on Forestry on inspection to assess the level of deforestation in the eastern part of the state.
Osikaya, who expressed concern over the level of illegal excavation and trading of sand at Emonyokwu, Ogugu centre, Ette Ogugu and Okpa in Olamaboro Local Government Area of the state, said the measure became necessary as it would cost government more to repair the damage caused.
According to her, government had sealed off the areas, warning that anyone caught would face the wrath of the law.
The special adviser warned that the increasing rate of deforestation and degradation of forest and soil reserve can no longer be tolerated as government places high priority on the issue of environment.
Osikaya said the original plan by the colonial masters was to ensure a safe environment for the people, and maintained that the present administration in the state would leave no stone unturned to make the environment safe.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the task force, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Mamman Jimoh Araga (rtd), called on traditional rulers in the state to educate their subjects on the importance of the environment to avoid illegal activities.
Meanwhile, at the palace of the Ochogwu of Ogugu, Chief Michael Salifu, he praised the State Governor, Yahaya Bello, for setting up the task force on forestry and expressed his readiness to support them.
Other places visited included the erosion site at Ogugu and sawmills where the apecial adviser sealed off the premises as a result of continued work despite the ban and directed the saw millers to report to the task force.