Less than a week after Daily Trust published an investigative report on activities of poachers in Ogun State forests, a government monitoring team led by Commissioner for Forestry, Tunji Akinosi, has uncovered an “illegal flyover bridge” in Omo Forest Reserve.
The reserve, the largest in the state, covers 135,906 HA and spreads across two Ijebu East and Ijebu North Local Government Areas.
Akinosi, who led a monitoring team, on Thursday, to Laagan Village, the site of the ongoing construction, described it as “unauthorised construction,” and ordered pulling down of the construction within two weeks.
This is coming few days after Daily Trust in its January 3 edition, reported how poachers, illegal farmers and loggers preyed on the forests in the state, most especially, Omo Forest Reserve, leading to loss of huge revenue and migration of elephant.
The three-page report titled “Despite prohibiting laws, poachers prey on Ogun forests as elephants migrate,” revealed how poachers operated with little or no checks on the part of the government.
A statement made available to our correspondent on Saturday by the Press Officer of the Ministry, Soji Solarin, quoted the Commissioner as saying the “illegal flyover” bridge was being constructed by illegal loggers for easy transportation of the State’s forest resources “to be freely stolen and taken away to neighbouring States.”
The statement titled: “Ogun uncovers an unauthorised flyover bridge in Omo Forest”, explained that the ongoing flyover bridge construction spreads across Oluwa River, a boundary between Omo forest, Area J4 in Ijebu East LG and Ondo State.
It reads: “The Commissioner for Forestry, Hon. Tunji Akinosi, who led a monitoring team to Laagan Village, where the unauthorised construction of about 50 meters long bridge was located, commanded the settlers to pull it down within two weeks before the next monitoring exercise that would come up on the 21, this month.
“Akinosi said aims and objectives behind the heinous act, was for easy transportation of the State’s forest resources by illegal loggers and flitch production, called ‘Alamole’, to be freely stolen and taken away to neighbouring States.
“He pointed out that the present administration would not fold its arms and allow illegal settlers to take over the forest reserve.”
He added that some unscrupulous elements were behind the illegal construction which must have gulped about 15 to 20 million naira.
The Commissioner noted that many of the settlers, who were keeping illegal arms to perpetrate crimes, would be arrested and charged to court.
He said armed soldiers would remain part of the frequent monitoring exercises in order to prevent banditry which is becoming prevalent nationwide.