James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
In its determination to end the menace of illegal farming in the State forest reserves, the Ogun State government has destroyed several acres of cocoa, cassava and plantain farms in Erinla and Bayesan villages in Area J4, as two illegal farmers were also arrested.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Eng. Tunji Akinosi, who led a task force and the management team on an evacuation exercise to rid the reserve of all unwanted crops in the reserves, said it was shocking that farming went on despite suspension of activities in the government’s reserves.
Akinosi said that the present Dapo Abiodun -led administration would not fold its arms and allow the State’s resources to be wasted by some selfish people, saying, activities of cocoa and other crop farmers were detrimental to the economic growth and ecosystem development of the State.
“Government will continue to destroy cocoa and other crop farms inside the forest reserve and more arrests will be made. It is certain that those apprehended will be made to face the wrath of the law”.
“As good citizens saddled with forest resources management in the State, 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 ordered that the two illegal farmers caught during the exercise, Kehinde Ogundipe and Ojedeji Bamiji, should be handed over to the Police at the Ijebu Ode Division for proper prosecution in the court to serve as a deterrent to others.
He told the Baales of Erinla Village, Chief Bashiru Asunmo and Bayesan Village, Chief Kehinde Bayesan, to disallow the continuous cocoa and other crop farming in their villages, warning that government would not condone any form of illegalities in the reserves.
Akinosi assured that the 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.