The Ogun State government has warned all forest users against illegal operations in the nine government forest reserves across the state.
The government, however, stressed the need for forest users to strictly abide by the rules of engagement in the course of their businesses.
The Commissioner for Forestry, Mr Kolawole Lawal, handed down the warning while addressing a delegation of the Association of Timber Contractors, Ijebu Branch, in Abeokuta, the state capital.
“The state government is not against legitimate businesses in the forest reserves, yet it expects contractors to operate in tandem with the existing forestry laws of the state.”
Mr Lawal noted that the primary responsibility of the Ministry was to ensure rapid cultivation and conservation of forest resources for the socio-economic development and environmental sustainability of the state.
He, therefore, warned that government would not fold its arms and watch the forest reserves being destroyed and depleted as a result of illegal operations.
“The obsolete forestry laws had been reviewed and currently await necessary legislation by the State House of Assembly. When passed into law, they would prescribe the necessary punishment for perpetrators of illegal activities in forest reserves in the state”.
According to the commissioner, the Ministry would resist all forms of illegalities in the forest reserves just as a ban on unauthorised logging and establishment of new settlement within the forest reserves subsists.
He also warned that any traditional ruler caught allocating land without government permission would be decisively dealt with in accordance with existing forestry law.
In his response, the leader of the delegation Mr Mukaila Adekoya appreciated government’s efforts in curbing illegalities in the forest reserves.
He also assured the commissioner of the necessary support of association to further wage war against all forms of illegal operations within their jurisdiction.