We’ll Not Allow Militia Group To Turn Ogun Forest Reserves To Sambisa – Taiwo Oludotun

Taiwo Oludotun

The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Engr Taiwo Oludotun, has vowed to take action against illegal occupants of the state’s nine forest reserves.

Speaking at a press conference held at his Okemosan office in Abeokuta, the state capital, Oludotun stated that the illegal occupants are causing economic losses and security threats by destroying conserved tree species and building structures within the reserves.

The commissioner specifically mentioned the Omo Forest Reserve, where illegal occupants have built houses and cultivated cocoa farms, leading to the destruction of preserved tree species.

He denied allegations of brutalization of the illegal occupants, explaining that the ministry had held meetings with them and advised them to stop their activities.

Oludotun accused the inhabitants of Etemi Gerald, a natural heritage area within the Omo Reserve, of engaging in nefarious activities, including building houses and cultivating cocoa farms without permission.

He alleged that they had also attacked security operatives and stockpiled arms and ammunition.

The commissioner emphasized that the state government would not allow illegal activities to continue in the forest reserves, which are meant to be protected for research and conservation purposes.

The forest Commissioner also warned the illegal occupants to vacate the reserves or face consequences.

According to him “It is a known fact that farming and erection of permanent structures within the forest reserves without the consent of the State government is illegal”

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“The Ministry held series of meetings with them, where they were warned to desist from the wanton destruction of the National heritage”

“The inhabitants of Etemi Gerald continued the expansion of Cocoa farms and structures in the prohibited areas. All efforts to stop them from further expansion of their cocoa farms into Queen’s forest of the conservation zone proved abortive.

“Surprisingly, they constituted themselves as Militant groups in the area, stockpiled arms and ammunition with which they attack people and security agents”

One of the Militant groups spearheaded by Mr Akinlolu Kehinde who is a kingpin in that area has on many occasions hindered the officials of the Ministry from performing their official assignments”

Engr. Oludotun hinted that the ministry after series of warnings, commenced the destruction of illegal farms and structures in the forest reserves, one of such destruction was recently carried out on 20th March 2024 adding that the destruction was carried out in conjunction with the law enforcement agency officers of Nigeria Police.

He said, during the demolition exercise, the team that went for the operation were fired at by unknown group of Militant men hidden in the forest reserve but were subdued by the security team that accompanied the Ministry’s officials and a total of twenty three illegal buildings were demolished in the area.

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Our correspondent reports that the Commissioner stance was aimed at safeguarding the state’s forest reserves for future generations and preventing further economic losses and security threats.

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