Kogi Govt. Trains Forest Managers on Tariff, Re-opens Forests on Thursday

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The Kogi Government on Wednesday organised a one-day training programme for its forestry officers, guards and contractors on Forestry Tariff and tree planting in readiness to re-open its forests.
It would be recalled that the government had placed a ban on forestry activities in the state on March 17, 2016, to enable the government has total control of its forests.
In her address, the Commissioner for the Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, said the meeting was a partnership for everybody coming on board.
She explained that those coming on board would go through the process basically for enforcement of laws to protect the forest resources.
‘‘For forests to be re-opened, there are preconditions that must be met in ensuring internal security for effective forest utilisation, management, conservation and sustainable development.
‘‘Though we are generating revenue for the government, but our first interest is for the people of Kogi to have environment that is safe, healthy and satisfy the general benefits of everybody.
‘‘Climate change is as a result of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere resulting from deforestation activities in our environment, which has direct correlation between the health and well being of the people.
‘‘Today, we are here to educate ourselves as saw millers, timber contractors, forest officers and other stakeholders on those things we must do as our respective functions and to keep them,’’ Osikoya said.
The commissioner also added that Kogi has about 194 massive erosion sites by over 50 per cent assessment, especially in the eastern part of the state.
She also said that Kogi has mapped out 20 hectares of land for 2017 tree planting, saying the planting would be inaugurated and forest re-opened on Thursday, Aug. 10 by Gov. Yahaya Bello.
She noted that the Bureau of Public Private Partnership (BPPP) had managed the process for the emergence of the contractors in a very transparent way, and their scheduled job functions were the reason behind the training.
The commissioner thanked Gov. Bello for his commitment and dedication toward making sure that Kogi has a good approach that would make the environment safe.
Mr Julius Abu, Assistant Director, Extension, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), told NAN that the training was meant to expose the state’s forest officers and timber contractors to the new Kogi State Tariff for forestry produce.
According to him, the tariff is the sales price of forestry produce which the state government has just initiated, because the old one had been overtaken by events.
“We have come up with new tariff which will now guide the sales of forestry produce as soon as the forest is reopened.
‘‘The revenue office will collect the money, but the forest officers and guards are the managers of the forests.
‘‘We are also here to put the forest officers and guards through on what they should know and the instruments to be used in measurement of trees and log volume for prospective buyers.
‘‘The state is going into real afforestation as from this year, and for the state to effectively plant trees and manage forests, they must have competent forestry managers,’’ Abu said.
Abu urged citizens and other stakeholders to support the implementation of the new forestry tarrif and environmental programmes for the benefit of the people.
Mr Yakubu Ocholi, a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Emergency Management, commended Bello on his efforts at making the environment friendly.
He also praised his interest in ensuring that Kogi forest is preserved and effectively utilised for the benefit of the citizens.
Ocholi advised the forest guards to do their jobs faithfully and avoid taking laws into their own hands.
He urged them to address their challenges during the course of performing their duties to the appropriate channels.
Credits: Stephen Adeleye | NAN

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