An Open Letter To The Edo State Governor, Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomole





On Thursday June 18, 2015, there was massive incursion into Ogba Zoo by land grabbers from Utagban and Ogbaneki neighbouring Communities. Large tracts of this pristine conservation project of the State, with high international acclaim, were decimated with the use of bulldozers. The zoo land was promptly put up for sale to unsuspecting members of the public, with fresh survey beacons dotting the landscape.

2. The supervising Ministry of Environment was immediately informed of this development and a team was sent for verification. A police patrol team was mobilized and arrests were made. The matter is now under police investigation at the Airport Police Division. However, there is apparent logistical challenges in impounding exhibits such as a bulldozer and other implements of this manifest ecological terrorism, along with all the perpetrators of these illegalities.

3. In the current circumstance, we want to again appeal for Government protection of this priceless Zoo forestry, which is the very last vestige of the once 53 Sq. Km.Ogba Forest Reserve. It is also pertinent to state, herewith, that the Zoo Management is operating under constant threats from these land grabbers and cannot, therefore, adequately discharge its mandate, with devastating effects on the Zoo’s business and international corporate standing. The massive investment on the Zoo’s infrastructure by the State Government could become a colossal waste if this encroachment problem persists.

4. Considering that the Comrade Governor had decisively dislodged these encroachment tendencies a few years back, the current massive incursion clearly signifies that the matter was not conclusively addressed, thus making this second foray by the land grabbers an audacious affront on the conservation and tourism legacies of your Administration. It is instructive that this Administration carried out extensive investigations on the previous encroachment in the year 2010, including setting up an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the matter, headed by the Surveyor General of Edo State, which followed due process, before demolition of the illegal structures was carried out.

5. However, following the demolition of the earlier illegal structures encroaching on the Zoo, the aggrieved community petitioned the House of Assembly, and for more than three years running, it has been a series of rigmarole by the House without any concrete pronouncement on the matter. Under this confusing distraction, the community was not only sufficiently emboldened as to rebuilding the demolished structures, but has now gone further to perpetrate the worst incursion on the greater part of the zoo, thereby making a mockery of Government.    

6. Some of the immediate concurrent steps required to seriously address these grievous challenges, includes the following recommendations.


a. We are constrained to earnestly implore your Excellency to cause a full scale formal inquiry into the repeated destructive incursions into the Zoo, leading to serious loss of its ecological integrity; since the current case points to possible demotion of Ogba Zoo from its enviable status in global conservation index, or end in its tragic extinction in no distant time.

b. We appeal that the ongoing investigation of the current crisis be taken up with the Commissioner of police for thorough investigation and prosecution of the culprits.

c. We urge Your Excellency to pay a sympathy visit to the Zoo and the site of this monumental destruction to an ecological heritage of the State, to see the realities on ground and bring succour.

d. Cause the Ministry of Lands and Surveys to urgently carry out a fresh survey of the Zoo, along with clear delineation of its boundaries.

e. Provide for fulltime deployment of Forest Guards and other security agencies to give adequate protection to this facility; since if the trees in a Nature Park within our doorsteps cannot be saved, then it is futile to be planting new ones in the bush.

f. Direct major sensitization of neighbouring communities / public.

g. Demonstrate effective deterrence by ensuring that all culprits in this dastardly act are brought to book. 


7. Your Excellency, since we made our pioneering PPP venture into the resuscitation of the comatose Ogba Zoo, as it then was some fifteen (15) years ago, it has been an endless struggle over land encroachment occasioned by Government’s de-Reservation of the outlying Reserves. With over 96 % of Ogba Forest Reserve already given back to the communities, leaving only the  Zoo as a gene bank of international scientific significance and the pride of Edo State, it is therefore, unthinkable that what is now left will be allowed to disappear under our watch.

8. The undue delay in resolving these encroachment problems has placed our personal safety and investments as eco-tourism developers under dangerous risks, in addition to being inimical to the visionary objectives of setting up the Zoo.

9. Thank you, Your Excellency, for being the epitome of a listening and forthright Governor. While praying that God will grant you strength to address these administrative challenges, please accept assurances of our highest esteem.

AO Ehanire

For Ogba Zoo & Nature Park.

National Secretary, Nigerian Association of Zoological Gardens (NAZG).

June 22, 2015 


1.   Hon Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly

2.   The Hon. Commissioner of Environment.

3.   Edo State Commissioner of Police.

4.   Hon Commissioner, Lands & Surveys.

5.   Hon Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice.

6.   Secretary to the State Government.

7.   The Chief of Staff to the Governor


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