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Gov Diri bans deforestation activities in Bayelsa



As part of efforts to protect the forest reserves and rare plant species in Bayelsa State, the governor of the state, Duoye Diri, has banned all deforestation activities in the state.

Diri announced the ban in Yenagoa on Tuesday, at a ceremony to mark the 2021 International Day of Forests, directing that all commercial timber dealers must obtain a permit from the ministry of environment, before embarking on logging activities.

The governor called for a fresh bill to repeal obsolete environmental laws and directed the ministry of environment and civil society groups to work with his office to prepare and send such bills to the House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, he maintained that his administration was committed to protecting all plant species within the state’s reserves through a legal framework.

“It is interesting that somebody that came from Cameroon has told us about a species in the world found only in our state and yet we cannot protect it. This bill should look at ways and means of preserving such rare species in our forests,” he said.

READ ALSO: Gov Diri reacts to allegations of N3bn loan diversion

Also, Diri frowned at the use of dynamites by fishermen and directed that the proposed bill should make the use of explosives on the state’s waterways an offence, noting that his administration would not fold its arms and watch forests in the state degraded.

However, he urged the Commissioner for Environment to reform the forest guards and deploy them to their respective local government areas to ensure effective protection of the reserves.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri, said the International Day of Forests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness on the importance of forests for the benefit of all generations.

Gbaranbiri noted that healthy forests influence the quantity of water yielded from watersheds, and provide logs, firewoods, fodder, and medicinal plants used by local and indigenous communities.

Also, the Coordinator of the Red Colobus Conservation Network, Miss Florence Aghomo, from Cameroon, in a remark, advised the Bayelsa government to act responsibly towards preserving its forests which she said had great socio-economic benefits.

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