…as illegal tree fellers face 6-month jail term
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose will on Monday flag off the planting of 250,000 trees as part of the programme of his administration to fortify the already depleted forests in the State.
Speaking on a TV programme in Ado Ekiti on Thursday, the State Head of Service and chairman of the State Forest Regeneration committee, Dr Olugbenga Faseluka and the State Commissioner for Environment, Chief Bisi Kolawole said the forest regeneration and tree planting programme which would be flagged off at Ayo Babalola Memorial Grammar school, Efon Alaaye would begin with tree planting in all secondary schools in the State.
Dr. Faseluka explained that schools are co-opted not only to help protect schools from windstorm but also inculcate the tree planting culture in the younger generation students so as to ensure environmental sustainability.
He added that government offices especially the State Secretariat would be involved in the exercise while it will be extended to the public in order to mitigate the harzadous effects of the depletion of the ozone layer.
In his remarks, Chief Kolawole stated that the state government has taken steps to stop illegal felling of tree in the State; stressing that the newly signed Ekiti State Forest Protection law provides a 6-month jail term without fine option for anyone caught in the illegal activity.
The Environment Commissioner explained that with the steps already being taken, the State had in the last six months generated sixty million Naira from the sector with a view to increasing it to One hundred Million Naira in the second half of the year.
Kolawole who said the forestry could be likened to the oil sector of the nation’s economy disclosed that 18,000 trees are felled in the State annually and the proposed planting of 250,000 trees would amount to investing in the future of the State.
He commended Governor Fayose for initiating the regeneration of the forests; saying that Fayose remains the only governor in the history of the State to fortify the State forestry having carried out a similar exercise in his first tenure as governor.