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Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, has reaffirmed the determination of police force to deny kidnappers and other criminals the use of forests to perpetrate their acts.
Inalegwu gave the assurance at a joint press briefing with the State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, on the sidelines of this year’s International Day of Forests in Lokoja.
Inalegwu said that the recruitment of forest guards was a critical step taken by Kogi Government that would control the forest reserves which hitherto had been safe haven for kidnappers and other criminals.
Now that we have joint collaboration between the police force and the ministry of environment, we will work closely with the forest guards to deny these criminals their sanctuary.
Once this is done, if they kidnapped, they would not be able to hold their victims in the bush or organise and plan their attacks.
“Let us join hands together to deny kidnappers and other criminals the use of forests to carrying out their nefarious activities and launching sporadic attacks against innocent travelers.
“We believe our policing system should be community oriented which serves as a veritable source of information that is critical to our work as force,” Inalegwu said.
He commended the roles of the state government under the ministry of environment and natural resources of helping to keep Kogi safer, cleaner and secure by taking charge of the forests.
The State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Osikoya, told newsmen that the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, was committed to sustainable utilisation of forestry resources for the benefit of all.
She said that diversification of economy should mean a lot in afforestation much more than in subsistence farming, noting that timber was the third highest foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
“In addition to increasing vegetation, people could make money for themselves by planting quality fruit trees like cashew plantation.
“In Kogi, a lot of our indigenous trees like Iroko and others are dead. Today, we are encouraging everybody to let us go back and rebuild our forest as his Excellency, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has said.
“Let us celebrate the International Day of Forests, by planting trees; looking back and forward and then making decisions to protect the environment so that the generation after us will enjoy them.
“The issues of environment are matters that concern everybody, let us add value to our environment, for every one tree that is cut down at least a tree must be planted as replacement. We need everybody to support this drive.
“The New Direction Blueprint budget, said plant 10 per cent annually and if you calculate 10% of the gazetted forest reserves that Kogi has, it means in 2016 alone, we should have planted about 62.4 million trees,” she said
She added that the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, had been able to to recover 28 out of the 36 gazetted forest reserves documents from the national archives of the Nigeria Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN)
“Kogi state has witnessed artificial desertification, flooding and other environmental challenges due to neglect by successive administration, but this government had recruited 100 trained forest guards, and discovered about six plant nurseries.
“We appreciate the immense contribution of law enforcement agencies in the state towards making the forests safe and protected;
“The Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria Ibadan for partnering with us to rediscover the gazetted forest domains, restore ancient land marks as well train all categories of forestry staff,” Osikoya said.
Credits: Stephen Adeleye | NAN
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