Obaseki disclosed this when he received the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laina, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin City.
He hinted that the target was to cover over 200,000 hectares, seeking the support of the British Government to realize the vision.
According to him, “We have developed a structured oil palm programme where we are going to make 150,000 hectares of land available. The first 50,000 hectares have been done under a very well defined and structured programme, which takes into consideration a strong community action programme. Communities must be involved as well as the investors so as to sustain livelihoods in communities.”
“We will be counting on your support in the areas of technical assistance,” Obaseki urged.
The governor noted that the British Government had helped establish the best forestry governance system in Benin City, stating that the advent of crude oil truncated it.
“We have done a bit of work in reclaiming our forests as we have a well-developed regeneration programme for our forests. We are also working hard to police our forests to ensure they are not hideouts for criminals,” he added.
Governor Obaseki also renewed the call for the return of Benin artefacts in the United Kingdom, noting that it would help inspire and reenergize the state’s young population to recreate such masterpieces.
He further stated, “As a government, we are working to ensure our artefacts are returned, as the works represent our culture, creativity and innovation. The work will influence and re-energise our young ones as it will connect them with their history.
“The return of the work is important to us as we have the capacity to support the works as it will attract tourism; the artefacts are a global public good.”
In the area of technology, Governor Godwin Obaseki said his administration is preparing Edo youths to take advantage of technology, adding, “We are using basic education to drive the process of actualizing our policies and plans.
“The issue of human trafficking has been taken seriously and we have made remarkable success in that aspect as we traced the root causes and addressed it. We are hoping to work with the Federal Government to come up with a strategy for regular migration, knowing those that want to travel and preparing them for such journeys.”
On her part, Catriona Liang said the United Kingdom is ready to partner with the Edo State Government to tackle climate change and deforestation, using oil palm trees.
The High Commissioner said she was in Edo to follow up on commitments Nigeria made on forest regeneration at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, held in Glasgow.
She emphasized that the goal was to ensure that the oil palm approach was sustainable for the good of not just Nigeria but the world as a whole.