The Ondo State government has apprehended 15 encroachers from Edo state for allegedly depleting the government’s forests and its economic trees.
The government said the arrest, which was made by the concessionaires in Akure/Ofosu forest reserves should be a signal to other encroachers to stay clear of the state’s forest.
Special Assistant to the governor on Natural Resources, Fatai Lawal Olusina who spoke with reporters in Akure, the state capital said the government will not tolerate any attempt to ruin the fortune of the state and rob it of its rightful revenue.
He added that seven trucks loaded with logs were already impounded with the arrested encroachers.
Olusina who condemned the activities of the encroachers, described them as enemies of the state.
He said “Government has decided to take a decisive measure on anybody caught cutting economic trees illegally in the state. It will no longer be a business as usual.
“Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu will not fold his arms and allow ‘miscreants’ to steal the natural gift belonging to the state for their selfish gains
“Government is ready to partner with anyone ready to do legal business with the state irrespective of the tribe or origin.”
The Timber Association in collaboration with the state government task force arrested the trucks at Ofosu village near Idanre.
Chairman of the Concessionaires,Olu Ayodele said, the ‘culprits’ came into the forest to cut the trees without licence or papers backing their action.
According to him “they came from neighbouring Edo state to carry out illegal activities on our forest reserve with some of them now at large, but their trucks were impounded at the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the state.
“Ironically, it was the same set of people arrested last year and warned to stop the act, but to our dismay, they came back again depleting our forest reserves without permission.”
The impounded five trucks numbered XA 891GBA,KT 384GBA,GR 715 XA,XD 519 MUS and XA 184 UMG are in the Ministry’s custody.