BENIN CITY – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has sent the Edo State Parks and Gardens Agency Bill and Edo State Forestry Commission Bill to the Edo State House of Assembly for consideration.
Edo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwole Iyamu SAN, disclosed this to journalists after the weekly Edo State Executive Council (EXCO) meeting, at the Government House, Benin City.
He said the governor also forwarded the Disability Rights Bill to the Assembly.
Iyamu said the forestry commission bill will ensure the efficient management and preservation of the state’s forest assets; the disability bill will protect the rights of persons with disabilities, while the parks and gardens agency bill will ensure a more serene and healthier environment through the maintenance of functional parks and gardens, as well as planting of trees.
According to him, “The clean and amended copies of these bills will be sent to Edo House of Assembly for passage into law. Two of these bills relate to the environment and the other relates to the right of persons living with disabilities.
“The disability law will regulate the treatment of people living with disabilities. It seeks to register or create a register of persons living with disabilities and will define what it actually means to be living with disabilities, thereby creating a situation where the society, in its entirety, has provision for the ability of those persons to live life to the fullest.
“It will make mandatory the creation of entrance and exits in public and private buildings that are favorable and usable by persons living with disabilities. We are talking about ramps and creating facilities in transport and education, among others, ensuring a situation where it becomes a crime to use a car park that is specifically reserved for persons living with disabilities or to claim to be a person living with disabilities when you are not just for the purpose of either getting benefits or begging.”
He continued: “The forestry bill seeks to put the management of our forest and forest resources into the hands of a commission and put it in line with best practices. I will remind you that the last time any legislation was done on forestry in Edo was 1968.
“You will agree that it is a very long time and the world has since moved very far. We are dealing with questions of climate change, destruction of our forest cover, and the absolute ravaging effects of illegal logging.
“The forestry commission is supposed to take care of these. The parks and gardens bill is a corollary to that forestry law because it deals largely with parks and open-space gardens within the urban areas. You will note that we have eventually developed our cities to the extent that there are no longer spaces.”
“The areas that are even called parks have become a hideout for hoodlums, wild animals, and all sorts of anti-social elements to hang around. So, these law seeks to create an agency that will manage our parks and gardens, and will regulate the use of those parks”, the Commissioner added.
In his contribution, the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Mr. Jonathan Lawani, said that the forest commission bill, when signed into law, will protect and preserve the state’s forest reserve and ensure that wildlife resources are well managed.