Oyo State Government has warned members of the public to desist from illegal tree felling and indiscriminate bush burning.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Prince Oyewole Oyewumi, gave the warning on the occasion of the 2018 International Day of Forest (IDF).
He spoke while declaring open the 2018 International Day of Forest (IDF), held at Methodist Grammar School, Bodija area, Ibadan.
According to him, anyone found violating the law would be punished.
Prince Oyewumi who spoke through the Special Adviser on Agriculture to Governor Ajimobi, Prof. Adetokunbo Adekunle, noted that the importance of trees in the society could not be over-estimated.
He explained that environment without availability of trees was prone to hazard and it was advisable for all to plant at least a tree so as to ensure a greener environment.
He stated that the present administration in the state had restored all depleted forests through collaboration with the local and foreign investors to ensure afforestation.
He stressed that government had signed Memorandum of Understanding with the private investors on the need for reforestation of the degraded forest reserves which was yielding positive result.
The commissioner explained that the degraded forests were as a result of illegal felling, disclosing that government had placed surveillance on the forest reserves to apprehend those who were involved in the illegal act.
While planting the trees to commemorate 2018 International Day of Forest, Prince Oyewumi, however called on all and sundry to imbibe tree planting, adding that planting of trees was necessary in order to achieve greener, healthier, happier and sustainable environment.
In his lecture with the theme “Forest for Sustainable Cities,” the Patron of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) forest Centre, Dr. David Oladiipo, explained that every 21st of March had been set aside to celebrate the International Day of Forest by the United Nations (UN) due to the importance of tree to humanity which could not be over-emphasized.
He noted that that deforestation in Africa as a result of inadequate sensitisation and awareness was making the environment to be dry.
Dr. Oladiipo, maintained that afforestation was a collective responsibility as the government could not do it alone.
He consequently called on the state government to implement a policy at which approval must be given before land could be cleared.
He also enjoined school principals to inaugurate Young Forester and Tree Clubs among the students.
In her own speech, the Director, Federal Comptroller of Environment, Oyo State, Mrs. Aina Adetola, called on the state government to place more priority on the forest reserves, noting that majority of the forest were becoming degraded because of illegal felling.