The Forestry Association of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter has lamented the current state of forestry in the state and its implications for the future of the state and observed need by government to be a front-liner in sustainable forest management.
Penpushing reports that, the lamentation was contained in a communiqués issued at the end of the association meeting following a critical review, identified some of possible causes of future misfortunes as include; neglect of afforestation program for years, illegal activities within forest estates, inaccessibility of the forests, lack of adequate tools and equipment, lack of training and retraining among others.
The communiqué signed by the Chairman, Dr. K.M. Ogunjobi and Secretary, Otunba Jide Fakayode opined that Ogun state being one of the very few states with Ministry of Forestry in Nigeria should be a front-liner in sustainable forest management.
Penpushing further reports that, the meeting lamented that despite the visible dangers arising from illegal activities in the forests, the activities continue unabated and in most cases at a higher scale.
‘It thus appears to the association that the illegal activities are being surreptitiously legalized giving the effrontery with which some of them are carried out. These illegal activities cannot thrive without the connivance of stakeholders in the forestry sector’.
‘To this end, an internal cleansing mechanism has been put in place towards ensuring that members do not contribute to the continuous rape of the forest estates in Ogun State’, the communiqué said.
The executives further lamented the continuous neglect of the forestry sector by the government despite the numerous tangible and intangible benefits of the forest, pointing out that there has not been any serious afforestation programme in the state for years whereas there has been a continuous depletion of the forest.
Penpushing also reports that the association said, it is imperative for the government to view the forestry sector beyond investment and returns, noting that, ’while investment in other sectors will yield naira and kobo, investment in the forestry sector brings life aside the naira and kobo’.
The association was of the opinion that if the trees being harvested now were not planted, our environment would have suffered greatly and income from forestry sector would have been elusive.
‘The promises and commitments of the current Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun towards tree planting must translate to reality as a legacy to bequeath to the coming generations’, the association said
Penpushing reports that the communiqué feels strongly that the government in the state should demonstrate possession of strong political will to rescue the forestry sector from its current deplorable state, adding that, to reposition the sector, the association resolved to partner with the government and all stakeholders.
‘It is sad that the nefarious activities of the cocoa farmers in Omo forest reserve is not receiving the attention it deserves. This is providing the impetus for others to disregard and violate government directives on the protection of the forests. The association alerted that the vast majority of the forests had been destroyed and what appears as a forest is only the frame’, the communiqué added.
The association promised to commence aggressive mobilization of the people of Ogun state towards tree planting and environmental protection and also to espouse the healing potentials of the forest particularly in the fight against coronavirus.
‘Furtherance to its determination to save the state from the looming challenges arising from neglect of the forestry sector, the association has called on all the good people and residents of Ogun state to alert the government of the state on damning repercussions of its actions and inactions as regards the forestry sector’, the communiqué added.