The Osun State Government has condemned the high rate of deforestation by illegal farmers and miners in its forest reserves.
The state government had issued a 21-day ultimatum to encroachers on government forest reserves across the state to vacate the lands, stating that their activities were having negative effects on the health and economic conditions of the people of the state.
The Chairman of the committee in charge of implementation of the government’s White Paper on Shasha Forest Reserve in Ile-Ife, Professor Labo Popoola told Channels Television that such illegal activities were destroying the ecosystem.
“Without forests, we are all gone. Forest is about life and it makes living possible. No settlement can take place if those who want to settle there do not have forest.
“The problem of deforestation is a global phenomenon and that is why reclamation is going on in many parts of the world. We are in trouble in Nigeria because about 10% of our land is only covered by forest when we need about 25%,” he said.
Professor Popoola, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Osun State University, Osogbo asked the people to desist from encroaching on government forest reserves or face the full wrath of the law.
He stated that government was ready to reclaim Shasha Forest Reserve and other reserves in the state and asked illegal farmers and timber contractors to vacate the lands immediately.
The Vice Chancellor Popoola said the dwindling fortune of the state, especially in the forestry sector was caused by encroachment on gazetted forest reserves in the state.
He noted that the state government would embark on projects that would improve the sector, despite the insufficient financial resources at its disposal.