By Mosope Kehinde
A tropical forest conservation expert, Mr Tunde Morakinyo has advised the Federal government to tackle the rate of kidnapping, banditry and insurgency by prioritizing the preservation and protection of the nation’s forest reserves.
Mr Morakinyo who is the Creative Director, Africa Nature Investors Foundation made this known while featuring on straight talk, an interview programme on Radio Nigeria Premier FM.
The expert who insisted that the lack of adequate attention at forest reserves across the country by the government and other Stakeholders was largely responsible for the takeover of the forests by criminally minded people terrorizing Nigerians.
Mr Morakinyo advocated a strong legal framework with stiffer penalties for culprits found guilty of destroying the forest and wild animals in the ongoing legislation before the national assembly. He said countries all over Africa have strengthened their legislation to prevent illegal logging, bush poaching, and illegal trade in ivory tusks.
While highlighting the significance of the forest to human existence, Mr Morakinyo said the federal government could generate better IGR from forest reserves, especially through tourism,
He said Africa Nature Investors Foundation was able to partner the federal government on the development of Gashaka Gumti and Okomu national parks in Nigeria to actualize ecotourism which he described as a huge part of the economy.
He identified lack of funding as one of the factors responsible for the neglect and untapped potential of forest reserves in Nigeria.
He also advocated the need for better funding and logistics, improved security and re-orientation for the preservation of Nigeria’s forest reserves which he said have become hideouts for bandits.
Mr Morakinyo called for concerted efforts by government, organizations, and individuals to value the environment by preserving nature, keeping the environment safe and clean for a better society
“Trees absorb water during flood, and emissions during road traffic, there is a reason people plant trees on the road sides in big cities in developed countries, buy for us, immediately we see trees on trees, we cut it down with the belief that there is going to be snakes”