In its drive to preserve forest reserves in Edo state, the Government of the United Kingdom has expressed its readiness to support the State government and the management of Okomu Oil Palm Company.
The Head of Climate Change and Energy at the UK Embassy, Nigeria, Ms Martine Sobey, disclosed this during an interview with newsmen during a tour to the Okomu Oil Palm Company on Tuesday.
Sobey, who is the Head of UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Nigeria, Climate and Energy, in Abuja, said FCDO, Nigeria, is responsible for managing the British Government’s contributions to development, diplomacy and defence in Nigeria.
The objective of the UK government was to support sub-national governments and collaborate with development partners at federal and state levels to reduce effects of climate change.
Sobey said the UK Government was impressed with both Edo State Government and Okomu Oil Palm Company’s effort at ensuring that the forest reserves in the state are protected from violation.
In her words: “It’s a privilege for me and others from the British High Commission to visit the company.
“Our objectives are multiple. But first, it is to understand some of the challenges and the opportunities for preserving forest in Edo.
“That is critical for biodiversity, the people, communities and providing a vibrant forest economy.
“We are ready to deepen our understanding of those issues of the company and challenges that the State Government faces here.
“The programme is about encouraging market-led approaches to develop agric-business that delivers climate and nature outcomes.
“They are looking at opportunities in Edo, including all those conversations we have had, to have a rich understanding of what is needed to shape the programme.
“So far, what we have heard is enriching to see that the company works so closely with a vision, African Nature Investors (ANI), which is doing fantastic work on both the reserves and national park.
“For me, it’s been rewarding. It fills me with adequate optimism about the future of Edo”, she said.
Sobey noted that her organisation had continued to support the Edo government including helping it with the reconstitution of its forest commission.
”This is really important at the state level because we know that forest is critical for climate change mitigation and also for adaptation perspective.
She added that it goes alongside our own work at the Federal Government level where it is critical to provide the climate change Act which Nigeria introduced in 2021.