Ogun State Government has placed a notice directing illegal occupants to vacate its forest reserves, just as farmers in the settlements who were permitted to stay should plant at least 5,000 trees.
Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Taiwo Oludotun made this known at J3 camp, Ijebu East Local Government Area, during a meeting with Baales, Chiefs and indigenes of more than 50 settlements in the area, saying the directive was part of efforts to rid the reserves of some irregularities.
Engr. Oludotun stated that the concerned stakeholders should ensure total compliance, as the present administration would not fold its arms and watch individuals and groups of people destroying the reserves.
According to him, “Government has discovered some irregularities in its forest reserves. All illegal dwellers are hereby directed to quit, and for those of you permitted to stay, you are hereby expected to plant at least 5,000 seedlings of trees, and failure to do this will lead to expulsion from the farm. You can do this alongside your farming activities”.
The Commissioner tasked the Baales to forward records of properties and their owners to his office within the shortest possible time, urging them to be security conscious and watchful of activities of kidnappers, illegal miners and other anti-social elements living in the area.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Lateef Benson said the meeting would enable the State government to have first-hand knowledge of activities and challenges confronting the dwellers and proffer solutions where necessary.
Benson, while highlighting the importance of trees to economic growth, said it serves as a source of revenue to the State, noting that tree planting also prevents winds and provides natural oxygen, among others.
Responding on behalf of his colleagues, Baale of Lutasi, Chief Ogunde Idowu
assured the Ministry of their cooperation to enable the government achieve its set objectives.