To end the menace of illegal farming within the State’s nine gazette reserves, Ogun State Government has burnt several acres of cocoa, cassava and plantain farms in Erinla and Bayesan villages in Area J4 and arrested two illegal farmers during the process.
The State Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Tunji Akinosi, who led the task force and management staff of the Ministry on an evacuation exercise to Ijebu Area, to rid the reserve of all unwanted crops, said it was shocking that farming went on despite suspension of activities in the Government’s reserves.
Akinosi said the present administration would not fold its arms and allow the State’s resources to be wasted by some selfish people, noting that the activities of cocoa and other crop farmers within the reserves were detrimental to the economic growth and ecosystem development of the State.
He ordered that the two illegal farmers caught during the exercise, Kehinde Ogundipe and Ojedeji Bamiji, be handed over to the Police at Ijebu Ode Division, for proper prosecution, to serve as deterrent to others.
“Government will continue to destroy cocoa and other crop farms inside forest reserves and more arrests will be made. It is certain that those apprehended will be made to face the wrath of the law. We will always promote forest regeneration and conservation for economic growth and sustainable ecological conditions, to secure a better future for the State”, Akinosi said.
The Commissioner enjoined Baales of Erinla Village, Mr. Bashiru Asunmo and Bayesan Village, Mr. Kehinde Bayesan, to disallow continuous farming in the reserve, warning that Government would not condone any form of illegality, as monitoring and burning exercise would be sustained across the forest reserves, until farmers desist from their illegal acts and anyone apprehended would be prosecuted without delay.