Thursday 6 April 2017

Osun issues ultimatum to forest reserve encroachers

The Osun Government on Thursday issued a 21-day ultimatum to encroachers on government forest reserves across the state to vacate the lands or face the wrath of the law.

Mr Tunde Ajilore, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Forestry, Natural and Mineral Resources, gave the ultimatum in Osogbo after leading members of “Shasha Forest Reserve White Paper Implementation Committee’’ on a visit to Ile-Ife.

He said that the directive became imperative because of large-scale deforestation caused via illegal tree felling and farming in the forest reserves.

He vowed that tangible efforts would be made to safeguard the reserves from further destruction and eventual extinction, adding that there were specific laws guiding the operations of forest reserves across the world.

Ajilore said that the state government had, therefore, directed all the farmers who had encroached into the government reserves, particularly the Shasha Forest Reserve in Ife South Local Government Area, to relocate from the forest reserves.

“They should vacate the reserves and remove all their valuables within 21 days.

“The mission and purpose of the committee is to ascertain Shasha Reserve boundaries and the extent of encroachment, while mobilising all illegal occupants to remove their property and belongings peacefully before they are made to face sanctions.

“There are established farm settlements across the state that will enable people to engage in all sorts of farming, rather than wilfully destroying existing forest reserves with cocoa, plantain and palm tree plantations,’’ he said.

Ajilore said that the reserves were purely established to preserve of the ecosystem and natural resources of the area.

He recalled that the expanse of land, which the state government once ceded to the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, was only meant for the cultivation of food crops.

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