Sawmillers kick as Oyo government converts reserves to farmlands
The state government had through a letter marked 411/27, dated September 25, 2017 approved the creation of agricultural zones from the existing forest reserves in the state. One Mr. A.B Oladejo signed for the Director of Forestry on behalf of the government.
Forest reserves in locations such as Gambari, Ijaiye, Osho, Igangan, Lanlate, Olokomeji, Olasehinde, Okoo-Iro and Opara with 250,000 hectares of land as been slated as areas where the commercial farmlands would take place.
But the Oyo State Timber contractors and Saw Milers Association has described the policy as a deliberate way of destroying the legacies Yoruba leaders like the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Ladoke Akintola said converting forest reserves and plantations across the state to commercial farmlands will be challenged in court.
According to the association, which said it has about 5,000 members, the exposure of the forest reserves to environmental degradation could threaten the ecological support fund that the country enjoys from international donor, agencies noting the fund are predicated on a progressive policy of afforestation and reforestation and not deforestation.
In a letter of protest through their counsel, Mr. Remi Alli to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, the timber contractors argued that before the state government ventured into the project, it should have made it pass through the statutory environmental impact assessment report, which the government allegedly failed to do.
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