Illegal settlers within the Strict Nature Reserve (SNR), in Area J1 of Omo Reserve and other forest enclaves across Ogun State have been ordered to vacate the areas immediately, to avoid prosecution, having disregarded several cautionary advice and warnings given by Government, against flouting regulations and degrading State’s forest Reserve.
Commissioner for Forestry, Hon. Tunji Akinosi, who gave the order in a meeting with all the Village Heads of the Forest Settlements, at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, said the SNR Area was designed for Elephants Conservation, Biosphere and Queen’s Forest, noting that illegal farming and uncontrolled human activities would result in the area losing its value, thereby destroying wildlife and ecosystem in the forest.
The Commissioner, who read the list of illegal settlements within J1 and other reserves to include, Imaba, Eseoke, Tami Tami, Bridge, Korede, Fatai, Sojukorodo, Gerrard, Erifun, and Oniguguru, said they must leave immediately, adding that Aba Alhaja, Erimogan, Ologuna and Ori Apata were to also vacate the illegally occupied areas.
“All illegal enclaves within the SNR and other parts of the State’s Reserve must leave for proper activities that the forest is designed for, to take over. Government will not fold its arms and allow the State’s resources and legacies to be destroyed with impunity by illegal occupants”, Akinosi said.
In a related development, the Commissioner for Forestry Hon. Tunji Akinosi, has declared that there would be reverification and renewal exercises of all Property Hammers, to enable government identify genuine contractors and prevent transference of working hammers from a person to another, to curb illegal flitches in the Reserves.
Speaking at a meeting with members of Ogun State Timber Contractors, Ogun State Saw Millers as well as Ogun State Plank Sellers Associations, the Commissioner said the exercise would commence from March 20, 2020, warning that property hammer owners who failed to comply, as well as hammers belonging to dead contractors would not be allowed to work, while those caught engaging in flitches, called ‘Alamole’, would have their Sawmills closed down.
In his response, the Vice President, Ogun State Saw Millers’ Association, Mr. Taiwo Solanke, said the association was in support of government’s approach to tackling the menace of illegal felling in reserves, which he noted had affected their business negatively.
On her part, the Iyalaje of the Ogun State Plank Sellers’ Association, Mrs. Kikelomo Olufunmi, commended the State Government for the bold step taken against illegal activities which she said, had been a major challenge to the licensed contractors.