Illegal logging: Obaseki orders immediate disbandment of vigilante groups in Edo community

Posted by News Express | 3 March 2022 | 389 times

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•Governor Obaseki



Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, on Thursday in Benin, ordered the immediate disbandment of the vigilante group accused of aiding illegal logging in Inikorogha, Ovia South West Local Government Area of the state.

Obaseki gave the order after a fact-finding mission to the community, with a team of security agencies comprising the police, army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Department of State Services (DSS) and National Park Rangers.

“I am here to see how we can move things forward. By next week, bulldozers will resume work on the construction of your road.

“You need to have access to your community. Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had awarded this road but they failed to commence work on it. The contractor will commence work by next week.

“We are disbanding all the vigilante groups aiding those engaging in illegal logging and we are recruiting able- bodied young men and women from this community to protect our forest and fight against illegal logging.

“I have made provisions for marine boots to man our water waves. Those engaging in illegal logging must stop, because if you had cut down those trees, you won’t be able to stay here.

“I don’t want to hear of any attack on Okomu national forest again. If I here of any, I will go after them and make them face the law,” he said.

The governor, also ordered security personnel to beef up security around the national park and for the habitats of Inikorogha, especially those holding key positions.

Speaking on the forestry bill being planned to be forwarded to House of Assembly, Obaseki said that it would proffer stiffer penalties for offenders of illegal logging.

“Before now, what we had as a law did not have real penalties. It was more like a tap in the hand.

“With this bill, if you are found cutting trees illegally, you will punished, even with jail sentences. Before now, the law just provided for your jobs to be impounded.

“With the current law, it goes beyond impounding; we will prosecute and convict people who are logging illegally and working against the forestry law in the state,” he said.

Earlier, the Youth Chairman of Inikorogha, Mr Favour Arigban, had claimed that he was driven away from the community because of his commitment to fighting illegal logging and protecting Okumo national forest.

Arigban, who alleged of oppression by a faction benefiting from illegal logging, called for government’s intervention to restore normalcy to the community. (NAN)

Source: News Express

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