The governor disclosed this during a meeting with stakeholders in the forestry sector, held at the Government House, Benin City, warning against breaching laws guiding the reopening of the forest reserves.
He said: “I have heard all your appeals and I hereby today, order the reopening of all our forests. I am doing this in the hope that you will work with us to protect your interest.
“We are doing this for you and we hope that you appreciate it. It is not to punish you. When we finish what we are doing, we will have an aggressive reforestation plan.”
The governor noted that the state government will enforce control of movement and tracking of movement of logs with patrol teams, which would be achieved if the stakeholders are ready to work with the state government.
He added that experts have been contacted to assist with the best practices on how the forest reserves can be best preserved and renewed, noting that only members of the Saw Millers and Timber Association will be granted approvals to sell logs.
He assured the stakeholders of security in the forest, adding, “By next week, I want every trade group to come up with a list of their members and those that pay dues. We are going to have a workshop.
“We have contacted the Chinese company and until we all agree, we will not sell any logs. I owe it to you and God that by the time we will finish, there will be nowhere in the world that will beat our record in planting in Edo State. We have to make a joint effort with you,” he said.
The chairman of Saw Millers Association, Mr. Lucky Odeh, assured the governor that the association will work with the state government in achieving the plan to preserve the forest for future generations.