16 July 2006

Nigeria: Govt Approves New Forestry Policy

Abakaliki — Ebonyi State Government has approved the adoption of a new forestry policy aimed at ensuring a sustainable forestry development in the state.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the weekly State Executive Council Meeting (SEC), the state Commis-sioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Abia Onyike said the approval followed the adoption of a draft white paper on a committee set up by the government to look into the problems of the state forest reserves.

He said that as a way of ensuring that the real objectives of the policy were realised, the government had placed a ban on unauthorised logging activities across the state and its borders.

The commissioner also disclosed that all illegal occupants of forest lands and those encroaching in the forest reserves in the state are to be ejected and their illegal structures seized based on the original survey plan of the forest.

He said government had further resloved that henceforth, all recommendations for approval to harvest trees must emanate from the appropriate authorities in the ministry of housing and environment, adding that the State Executive Cuncil also approved that some staff of the forestry department who were indicted for for negligence and dereliction of duty be severely purnished accordingly.

Onyike said under the new policy, urgent steps would be taken to delineate the boundaries of the Okpoto Forest Reserve in Ishielu East, which is partly inhabited by the Igwebuike people.

THISDAY gathered that Ebonyi State has a total of 12 forests and one games reserve located in three senatorial zones of the state with the occupation of land space of 1552 hectares.

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