Towards curbing the prevalent illegal falling of trees in forest reserves, Ogun State government has employed over one hundred and twenty forest Officers, to keep watch of all reserves across the State.
The State Commissioner for Forestry, Chief Kolawole Lawal disclosed this in Abeokuta, during the House of Assembly Committee on forestry’s visit, to appraise the 2018 budget performance of the Ministry.
Lawal revealed that the Ministry had been able to reduce illegal tree felling to 25 percent, adding that the recruitment of more forest Officers, to complement the efforts of the existing ones, would put an end to the illegal activities in the State’s forest reserves.
He said more forest attendants, boundary and forest guards were needed to further ensure strict monitoring of all activities through adequate patrol, thereby protecting the estates and reduce illegal timber operators and farmers.
According to him, activities of illegal farmers and flitch operators who destroy economic trees in the forest reserves had been a major challenge of the Ministry, which had contributed to the dwindling of forest resources and the State Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) potentials.
‘’The incursion of illegal farmers into the forest reserves, particularly Omo forest reserve, has been a major challenge of the Ministry, over the years. This year alone, economic trees worth above N6m had been destroyed by the farmers. This challenge contributes to the dwindling of forest resources and the revenue potentials of the State’’. Lawal said.
Commending the Ministry on its achievements, despite its challenges, the Chairman, House Committee on Forestry, Hon. Ganiu Oyedeji, advised it not to relent in its efforts, calling for the involvement of host communities in the fight against these illegal operations in the State.