Akeredolu flags off afforestation project … seeks to make Ondo hub of quality wood production in Nigeria
Ondo State governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has said that the focus of his administration is to attract investors for the sustainability of the environment and for the benefit of the people.
He said it was the responsibility of his government to make a difference in the lives and wellbeing of the people of the state.
The governor spoke on Tuesday during the flag-off of the 10,000 hectares forestation project at Omotosho in Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state.
The project is a partnership between the Ondo State government and a Chinese company, Wewood Limited.
Akeredolu, who described the flag-off of the project as a landmark in the annals of the history of the state, recalled that the project of such magnitude was last embarked upon in 1979 during the administration of the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin for the purpose of supplying wood pulp to Iwopin Paper Mill and other wood-based industries in the area.
He said it was unfortunate that nothing had been done in the forest reserve area for its sustainability, adding that the project failed to fulfill the purpose for which it was established.
The governor noted that the aforestation reserve area established by the late Ajasin had been badly encroached upon and depleted by encroachers and miscreants, resulting in looting of the state’s valuable products due to lack of proper planning, surveillance and accountability.
Akeredolu assured that his administration would take appropriate measures to prevent the failure of the current forestationproject this time around.
He said: “The core objectives of the state government’s partnership with Wewood Limited in embarking on the afforestation project are to engender environmental regeneration, achieve a cleaner, healthier and sustainable environment that to reduce the rate of unemployment in our state.”
While speaking, the Business Development Manager of Wewood Limited, Mr. Sun Peng, noted that the push by the governor to tackle unemployment and ensure protection of the environment has started yielding the desired results.
Peng said no fewer than 30 other Chinese investors had shown interests in investing in different types of manufacturing companies in the state because of the governor’s hands of fellowship.
He said: “We promise to pull all our wealth to bear in this afforestation project in such a way that our mutual benefit will not be compromised, and we can assure you that the incoming generation will forever be grateful for this project.
“This will not only bring more jobs to Ondo State, but will also increase the bilateral relationship that our country and Nigeria have been talking about.”