Encroachment threatening our forest reserves–ODSG
By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Ondo state Commissioner for Natural Resources, Mr Temitayo Oluwatuyi has said combating encroachment in government forest reserves across the state remains one of the major challenges facing the ministry.
In a statement by the Head of Media Unit of the Ministry, Mr Olaoluwa Meshack, the Commissioner, while briefing the state House of Assembly Committee on Natural Resources in his office during a familiarization visit to the ministry said apart from encroachment, flitching and illegal depletion of the forest resources also remain major challenges.
He said illegal activities in the state forest reserves have led to loss of substantial revenue by the state government, stressing that if the menace is not curbed, the state forest reserves would soon be totally depleted while government would continue to lose millions of naira as revenue.
Oluwatuyi who lamented that encroachment has eroded about eighty percent of the total forest reserves in the state, said lack of serviceable vehicles and deplorable forest roads have considerably limited patrol operations in the forest.
The Commissioner added that infiltration of herdsmen, kidnappers, restive youth, armed banditry, and cultivators of Indian hemp are also major security challenges hampering the operations of foresters in the state.
He solicited the cooperation of the Ondo State House of Assembly in ensuring that adequate legislation are put in place to ensure effective forest management, as well as sustainable utilization of the available natural resources in the state .
The Commissioner added that the Ministry of Natural Resources is revenue generating and therefore requires special attention to enable it deliver on its core mandate as the state is desirous of increasing its internally generated revenue in the face of dwindling revenue from the federation account.
The Chairman, Ondo State House of Assembly committee on Natural Resources, Mr Akinrogunde Akintomide, pledged the Cooperation of the House in ensuring that adequate and effective legislations are put in place to ensure profitable forest management in the state.
Akintomide said the committee would look dispassionately into the challenges facing the ministry and work in tandem with the state government to ensure that the problems are tackled headlong.
The Chairman representing Okitipupa State Constituency (1) in the State House of Assembly, stressed that the performance of any state House of Assembly is not measured by the number of crises it has with the state government, but by the resolutions it has with the executive arm towards the overall development of the land and her people.