By Amos Ogunrinde

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has directed the newly recruited Forest Guards in the state to synergize with security agencies to flush out kidnappers and other criminals that are using Ekiti forests as hideouts and inflicting terror on the citizens.

Mr Oyebanji gave the directive at the passing out parade organised for the Forest Guards as part of activities marking the 2024 International Forests Day with the theme: “Forests and Innovation: New Solution for a Better World”, held in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.

The governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye, announced that government recently employed 22 Forest Guards, 18 boundary-men and 10 technicians to strengthen the workforce and be able to tackle rising cases of insecurity, deforestation and other criminal acts being perpetrated by some unscrupulous elements in Ekiti forests.

The governor stated that 20 hectares of land in Ise Forest being used for cultivation of Indian Hemp, was recently discovered and destroyed to safeguard the lives of the citizens.

He assured the people of the state that his government had mapped out strategies in partnership with some stakeholders to increase the forest potential of Ekiti State for improved economy, ecosystem and atmospheric conditions capable of bringing about healthy living and improved life expectancy of the citizens.

Governor Oyebanji pledged that his administration would equip the workforce of the commission to be able to deliver on the mandate of improving the internally generated revenue of the state.

On her part, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Tosin Ajisafe-Aluko pointed out that two million tree seedlings would be planted in 2024 to shore up the state’s forest potential.

Chief Ajisafe-Aluko stated that the state government would contrive many innovations to improve forestation and make Ekiti viable in the sector to return to the old good days when forestry contributed to the growth of the economy.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Ekiti State Forestry Commission, Mr. Sunday Adekunle told the gathering that the government is currently nursing sixty thousand (60,000) seedlings of various species at Erunfun Nursery that will be sold to interested members of the public to boost plantation agriculture.

Mr Adekunle assured that the government would also partner all relevant agencies to tackle forest desertification, pursue a robust forest regeneration policy and propel efficient monitoring of all forests to contribute to the economic development of the state.

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