We’ll Not Allow Militias Occupy Ogun Forest Reserves — Commissioner

June 19, 2024

The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Engr Taiwo Oludotun, on Wednesday, hinted that the state government will not allow any group of people occupy any of its nine forest reserves illegally, to further cause economic losses and security threats.

Oludotun, during a press conference held at his office at the Governor’s Office, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, stated that the illegal occupants were destroying economic and conserved tree species that were preserved for research purposes.

The commissioner noted that the illegal occupants had been building houses and planting cocoa trees inside the Omo Forest in Area J4.

Oludotun denied any form of brutalisation on illegal occupants of the Omo Forest Reserve as being peddled in some national dailies.

He explained that a particular individual (names withheld) had been carrying out nefarious activities within the Etemi Gerald which is a natural heritage area of the Omo Reserve.

“The inhabitants of Etemi Gerald entered into the above-mentioned natural heritage and illegally built houses, cultivated several hectares of cocoa farms after brazenly destroying economic and conserved tree species that were preserved for research purposes. It is a known fact that farming and erection of permanent structures within the Forest Reserves without the consent of the State Government is illegal.

“The ministry on her part, held a series of meetings with them, where they were advised to desist from wanton destruction of the National heritage. However, the inhabitants of Etemi Gerald continued expansion of Cocoa farms and structures in the prohibited areas.

“All efforts to stop them from further expansion of their cocoa farms proved abortive. They constituted themselves as militant groups in the area, stockpiled arms and ammunition with which they attack people and security agents.

“It was not surprising that the residents of Etemi Gerald carried weapons. It has become a trend in the Reserve. It is on record that some of their members in Aba Titun attacked security operatives with a police officer still missing, a DPO shot, guns like AK 47 and others carted away without consequence. This we believe has emboldened them and their cohorts to spread across villages like Etemi Gerald, Eseke and others,” the commissioner said.