Oyetola planting a tree
Oyetola planting a tree

By Sunday Oguntuyi, osogbo

Osun state governor, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola has warned residents of the state to refrain from acts capable of undermining the environmental sustainability.

He charged them on conservative and preservative measures to keep the environment safe and secure against all forms of pollution and degradation.

Governor Oyetola stated this on Friday at a tree planting programme organised to commemorate the Year 2020 World Environment Day (WED), at Gbodofon area, Osogbo.

Oyetola who frowned at people who are in the habit of encroaching into government’s forests to cut down trees and set fires in the forest for farming purposes disclosed that “our administration is poised more than ever before to take proactive steps aimed at addressing every unlawful action of a few ignorant citizens of the state and their collaborators in order to protect and save our ecosystem.

“We are prepared to invoke the full weight of the law on anyone caught engaging in illegal land clearing for farming; uncontrolled logging, gathering of firewood, deforestation, indiscriminate or ill-planned bush burning, high population rate, degradation of the environment occasioned by illegal mining and illegal hunting for bush meat.”

Speaking on the theme of the World Environment Day, tagged “Biodiversity”, Oyetola disclosed that Biodiversity was essential to human development because “it is the foundation that supports all the lives on land and below the waters”.

The Governor who lamented the poor environmental management culture, said ‘it is sad to note that, on a global scale, biodiversity is being lost at a rate many times higher than that of natural extinction.

He identified illegal land clearing for farming purposes, uncontrolled logging, gathering of firewood, deforestation, indiscriminate or ill-planned bush burning, high population rate, degradation of the environment occasioned by illegal mining and illegal hunting for bush meat as some of the factors affecting biodiversity conservation in Osun.

Oyetola added that “these problems have made ecotourism in the State’s protected areas unattractive and significantly denied the State the potential benefits of Ecotourism which is the fastest growing segment of tourism today”.

However, he disclosed that “the government of the state of Osun is committed to planting trees to reverse the status of our degraded forest while projects on watershed protection will also receive its due consideration. Equally, we are sanitising the mining sector to arrest further degradation of the environment, ” the governor added.

He, therefore called on all and sundry to join the government to make the state of Osun clean, safe, healthy and resilient.

Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Engr. Sola Oladepo, said nonchalant attitude towards biodiversity conservation in the past had culminated into massive degradation of forest reserves through flagrant encroachment of the reserves for illegal farming activities and logging.

He decried the rate at which the state has been significantly losing revenue due to the unpatriotic act, saying the act had contributed to the inability of the state to access some international benefits as enjoyed by other states.

Oladepo hinted that the state was ready to begin the plantation of 1million trees across the state as 250,000 tree seedlings have been preserved for plantation.

He commended the administration of Governor Oyetola for working assiduously to keep the environment safe, saying “our Ministry has already taken steps to reverse the ugly trends through well planned project and programme including the recruitment of Boundary Guards.

“Illegal farmers in our forest reserves have been given notice to quit and move to a suitable place, and we have put efforts to remove the encroachers to allow for full benefits of the ecotourism project in the state”, Oladepo stressed.