From VICTOR NZE, Lagos
Following the alarm raised by Management of the Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park over activities of vandals, as reported in the Oracle Today Newspapers, last week, the Edo state Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has now moved to reclaim encroached property of the tourist destination located in Benin City, the state capital.
Obaseki, after a meeting with top management of the Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park, Friday, led by its Chairman, Professor Emmanuel Emovon and Chief Executive, Mr Andy Enahire, immediately announced the setting up a five-man committee led by the Solicitor General of Edo State, Mr. Wole Iyamu to investigate the matter.
The Ogba Zoological Garden and Natural Park which houses rare species of plants and animals is also a major recreational facility in Benin City.
Obaseki, while receiving the Ogba Zoo management at the Edo State Government House in Benin City, noted that it was part of Edo’s heritage and everything would be done to ensure it was protected.
Describing the present situation as unacceptable, Governor Obaseki stated that his administration would protect the Zoo from encroachers, no matter how highly placed such people were in the society.
“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. I am setting up a committee with a two-week mandate to come up with an action plan to recover every land due to Ogba Zoo.
“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. We will preserve the Zoo and Natural Park; it is our heritage. I want to assure you that we will take actions to preserve it,” he reaffirmed.
Earlier, Emovon said the visit had become necessary because all letters and entreaties to the neighbouring communities were ignored and it was important to take necessary steps to protect the zoo and ensure it survived.
“Ogba Zoo is poised 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 and put an end to the worrisome situation being experienced in the zoo,” said Emovon.