The Ogun State Government has organised an interactive session with the stakeholders in the State forest reserves to further forestall economic sabotage in areas J1, J3, J4 and J6.
The State Commissioner for Forestry, Chief Kolawole Lawal said the purpose of the meeting was to ensure that cocoa farmers and timber merchants were fully informed about the Government policies so that they could comply with the terms of engagement.
Chief Lawal said that the policies of the present Administration was not to witch-hunt anybody but to ensure that things were done in accordance with lay down principles.
He said as part of effort put in place to identify legal operators, farmers were enjoined to obtain and submit farmer’s agreement forms and collect their identity card at the Ministry in order to ease their identification in the forest reserves.
While sounding a note of warning, the Commissioner said that farmers should desist from planting cash crops in the reserves especially planting of new cocoa trees as Government would not hesitate to punish any farmer contravening the new agreement.
In the same vein, the Commissioner warned plank sellers to desist from buying illegal flitches “Alamole” from farmers saying it had been banned in the State plank plant.
He said that anyone found with flitches would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Responding, the Chairman of Baales in Atun Adugbose Village, Chief Ogunde Idowu said farmers had been protecting the economic trees and prevented operators from planting new cocoa trees in the forest reserves.
The Chairman of Plank Sellers Association in Ijebu Land, Alhaji Musafau Osibanjo said the plank sellers were ready to support the Government in waging war against buying and selling of illegal flitches “Alamole”, enjoining members to cooperate and desist from dealing with illegal business that could tarnish the image of the association in the State.