The efforts of the Central Log Control put in place by the Ogun State Ministry of Forestry to curb illegal exploitation of trees and forest resources has yielded result, as it uncovers plot by lumbermen to cart away forest resources from the State through its borders with Ondo State.
Commissioner for Forestry, Chief Kolawole Lawal while speaking with newsmen on the development at Odo Oni, Laagan village, area J4 in Ijebu-North East Local Government Area, revealed that some illegal tree merchants in Laagan, a border village between Ogun and Ondo States, had constructed a concrete bridge through which they intend to smuggle illegally felled trees to neighbouring States.
Lawal however stated that the act was an aberration as the State forestry law prohibited construction of any structure within its forest reserves without government’s approval, adding that government was committed to protecting the forests from further encroachment by internal and external forces.
He explained that constructing a bridge on Odo-Oni which is the natural boundary between Ogun and Ondo State would further encourage influx of illegal migrants from neighbouring States into the forest reserves as well as illegal exploitation of its resources and destruction of economical trees.
‘’We got information that people of Laagan community are collaborating with other neighbouring settlements from Ondo State to construct a bridge on Odo-Oni river, which is the natural boundary between Ogun and Ondo State. This is against the State Forestry Law as it will create avoidable porosity into our forest reserves. Our forest resources will be illegally moved to neighbouring State at the detriment of Ogun State government’’. He said.
In his response, the Baale of Laagan village, Chief Mufutau Sanusi pleaded with the State government to be lenient with them saying they were not aware that it was an offence and the likely negative impact the bridge would have on the forest reserves.
He assured the State government that Laagan and other settlements in the area would cooperate to fight against illegal activities in the forest reserves.