Illegal Activities: Govt Officials, Soldiers To Comb Ogun Forest Reserves - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, January 9, 2022

Illegal Activities: Govt Officials, Soldiers To Comb Ogun Forest Reserves

••• As Botanist Warns Fleeing Animals May Take Over Towns In Ogun If Devastation, Logging Of Its Priceless Rainforests Persists

                         •Nigerian Army 

The Daily Crucible | Sunday, January 9, 2022

By Mariam Adekunle, Abeokuta

Ogun State Government has disclosed that officials of the Ministry of Forestry will soon commence routine visit and inspection of the state - owned forest reserves and afforestation areas to forestall illegal activities by individuals or groups.

The State Government said its officials will be accompanied during the inspection  by men of the Nigerian Army, warning that the present administration would not condone illegal activities in government’s forest reserves, particularly from individuals or groups who have not registered with government.

This is coming on the heels of an alarm raised earlier by a Botanist that fleeing animals may take over cities in rainforests zone of the country, including Ogun State, if the "rapid devastation and logging of priceless rainforests" - their habitats, is not abated.

The Botanist,  Prof. Olubukunola Oyesiku who raised the alarm while calling for a concerted efforts to save the ecosystem, described the manner of devastation and logging of the nation's rainforests without any guide or collaboration with botanists as "astonishingly rapid" and "demoralising."

Oyesiku recalled that he biked over Ago - Iwoye land covering 1000sq km in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State in 2018 and found an "extensively logged forest," lamenting that indiscriminate logging practices - especially felling of large trees, were disrupting the plants and animals ecosystems and their methods of existence.

The professor of Bryology spoke while delivering the 100th inaugural lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago - Iwoye on a Tuesday in December, 2021.

Speaking on the lecture title, "Romance With Mosses," (Non-seed plant species), he said man's  activities have harmed plants and animals in the rainforests ecosystem, explaining that he had deployed the knowledge of bryophytes to ascertain the status of rainforest within his scope of research.

To arrest the trend of devastation and logging of rainforests with the attendant risks to the ecosystem, Prof. Oyesiku called on individual, community, governments and nation to develop "national reforestation policies" to reduce climate change, stabilise the carbon concentration in the atmosphere and soil air.

He also urged researchers in forestry, ecology and bryology to embrace standard indicator bryophytes to monitor forest disturbances and calculate the age of the nation's rainforests for possible regeneration, preservation and reforestation.

Similarly, in a move to check further illegal activities in its afforestation areas across its three senatorial districts, Ogun State Government through the Commissioner for Forestry, Hon. Tunji Akinosi warned contractors to desist from ‘unwholesome act’ in forest reserves, threatening that "anybody caught will face the music.”

Akinosi issued the warning at a meeting in Abeokuta with the representatives of Timber contractors, Sawmillers and Charcoal sellers.

“Let me warn those carrying out illegal activities in our reserves to desist as the government will no longer fold its arms and watch them destroy our forests. Anybody caught will have to face the music,” he said.

He implored stakeholders in the forestry industry to cooperate with the state government, in order to serve them better in the new year.

The Commissioner hinted that an upward review would be made on revenue being  collected from registered contractors by the government.

In his remark at the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Lateef Benson appreciated the associations’ prompt response, assuring that their demands would be looked into.

Responding on behalf of the Sawmillers, Hon. Kunle Banjo pleaded with the government not to increase revenue beyond what they could afford, while a member of the Timber Contractor, Alhaja Ranti Ayobambi promised to continue to abide by the rules and regulations meant to improve the fortune of their businesses.


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