By Ikechukwu Iweajunwa
Owerri – Gov. Emeka Ihedioha of Imo has announced the upgrading of the state Zoological Garden to Wildlife Park and Nature Reserve.
Ihedioha also banned the illegal dredging of the Nworie Confluence area of the state.
He made the declaration on Wednesday in Owerri during the launching of this year’s
World Environmental Day celenration, organized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
He said that the new parastatal organisation would be headed by the most senior Wildlife Specialist and Director, Mr Francis Abioye.
Speaking on the theme, “Air Pollution,” the governor described Environmental Impact Assessment as imperative for developmental projects in Imo as stipulated by law.
He said that mining must be regulated in the state by the ministry of environment to ensure that the system was safe for all.
He said: “Our government shall take steps to preserve all state forest reserves that have been devastated by past political leaders.
“We shall take appropriate steps to preserve and upgrade the state old Imo State Zoological Garden, now, Imo State Wildlife Park and Nature Reserve, in line with making Imo a tourism destination in Nigeria.”
Ihedioha noted that his administration would ensure the preservation of the eco-system and also make Imo the cleanest state in Nigeria.
He promised to empower agencies responsible for waste management to be proactive in their duty to be able to convert waste to wealth.
In a brief speech, Abioye said that the state wildlife park and nature reserve had over 20,000 species of plants and arboretum, sufficient to serve as carbon sink and also produce enough pure oxygen to support the lives of Imo people.
He commended the governor for his commitment toward the protection of the environment.