Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has called on experts, civil rights groups, traditional leaders, local government officials and international donors to support the government’s campaign to preserve the state’s biodiversity and conserve its forest belt. 

The governor made the call to commemorate International Mother Earth Day, marked every April 22, across the world by the United Nations (UN) and its various organs. 

He said efforts by his administration to preserve the state’s flora and fauna will safeguard forest reserve and biodiversity.

“We are strengthening mechanisms to ensure we do not lose the touch with mother earth and our forest belt. To halt depletion of forest reserves, we have equipped officials of the state’s Forestry Department with 39 motorcycles which will enable them to penetrate hard-to-reach sections of lush forests and guard against activities of encroachment. Our commitment to protect the state’s forest covers will contribute in tackling climate change and preserving our beautiful state for future generations.

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“We are working with the management of the Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park and other experts to reposition the zoo and tap from its eco-tourism potential,” he said.

Obaseki hailed the UN for the 2019 theme, ‘protect our species’, which, he said, called for urgent actions among stakeholders, to assist the state government achieve its vision on forest sustainability.

“I urge community leaders, corporate bodies, individuals, international donors and other stakeholders to support the charge of protecting the forest, considering how our state’s total forest estate has been depleted, which endanger species in the forest,” he said.