By Victor Ernest
The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Chief Kolawole Lawal, said the state government has uncovered plans by some lumbermen to cart away forest resources from the state.
He disclosed this while speaking with journalists on the development at Odo-oni, Laagan village, area J4 in Ijebu-North East Local Government Area.
He said 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.
This is a contravention of the state’s forestry law which prohibits the construction of any structure within its forest reserves without the government’s approval.
He explained that constructing a bridge on Odo-oni, which is the natural boundary between Ogun and Ondo state, would further encourage an influx of illegal migrants from neighbouring states into the forest reserves as well as illegal exploitation of its resources and destruction of 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, 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.