BENIN CITY: Edo State Governor Mr. Godwin Obaseki has set up a five man committee led by the solicitor General of Edo State Mr. Wole Iyamu to reclaim encroached property of the Ogba Zoological Garden and natural park saying it is one of the heritage that the Edo people are very proud off and will do everything to ensure it is protected.
He made this known when he received the management team of Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park led by Prof. Emmanuel Emovon in government house in Benin City.
Obaseki said the zoo is one of the very unique surviving areas in the rain forest that still houses very rare species of both animals and plants. “Because of our new trust in making Edo State and Benin City an attractive hub for business and tourism we will do everything possible to preserve this unique heritage of ours.
The governor said he was disturbed to hear some of the issues raised and claims made in the arbitrary letter. He said he was not aware that it has gone into arbitration as such immediately setting up a committee to reclaim the encroached property of the zoo.“I am setting up a committee with two weeks mandate to come up with an action plan to recover all land due to Ogba Zoo.
Obaseki said the committee has just two weeks to look at all the issues, the level of encroachment and all the terms of arbitration. “The outcome of your report should get to me on the 3rd of July 2017. The report should be more of action steps to be taken and if possible document in specific terms violators, so that persecution can be also follow if need be.
He said the situation is not acceptable and his administration will do all within its reach to ensure that this heritage site is adequately protected from encroachers or those that wants to confiscate the property of the zoo no matter how highly placed they are in the society. “We will preserve the Zoo and Natural Park, it is our heritage. I want to assure you that we will take action to preserve the Zoo” he concluded.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation of the Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park Prof. Emmanuel Emovon said they are in government house in connection with the Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park which is the heritage of the Benin people which is now being encroached by land grabbers.
He said the visit has become necessary as the protection of the zoo is now of utmost concern because it is a facility that is always cherished. He said they were forced to go into arbitration because all letters and entreaties to the communities around about encroachment and other challenges fell on deaf ears as such became necessary and important to take the necessary steps to protect the zoo and ensure it survives.
Prof. Emovon calls on the Obaseki’s administration to do the needful to help save the zoo from encroachers and land grabbers and remedy the worrisome situation. “Ogba Zoo is pious to attend full repositioning as a foremost eco-tourism facility in Nigeria despite the encroachment challenges. I am calling on the government to support the management of the zoo to put an end to the worrisome situation being experienced in the zoo”.
The committee is chaired by the Solicitor General of Edo State Mr. Wole Iyamu. Other members of the committee include the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, the Surveyor General of the State, representative of the Commissioner of Police Edo State and a representative from 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army.