The Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Ogun State Chapter has passionatley called on government on urgent need to put in mechanisms to protect Forests from invasion by suspected herdsmen who have turned reserves to their gold mine
Penpushing reports that the association made the appeal in the wake of the recent herdsmen attack and sacking of residents of Olokemeji community located in Odeda local government area of the state.
The association in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr Kayode Ogunjobi and Otunba Jide Fakayode (Secretary) acknowledged the swift response of the government to the ugly development
‘The Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Ogun State Chapter appreciates the Governor of the State, Prince Dapo Abiodun for the various efforts that have been put in place towards unraveling the direct and remote factors that forced the people of Olokemeji village in Odeda Local Government out of their village as captured in a widely circulated video’..
Penpushing further reports that the body equally expressed appreciattion to the Ogun State House of Assembly for swiftly passing the Animal Grazing Regulation and Cattle Ranch Establishment Law 2020
The association noted that passing that animal grazing regulation otherwise known as open grazing bill into law. thereby providing the legal framework for checkmating the activities of some herdsmen who have turned various forest reserves into grazing reserves.
Penpushing also reports that the Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN) in the statement stated that, it is hopeful that the bill will receive the Governor’s assent as soon.as possible,noting that. the forest reserve serves as a laboratory for generations of foresters and scientists involved in ecological studies both within and outside Nigeria.
‘Olokemeji forest Reserve is situated between latitude 7o25`N to 7o39`N and longitude 3o44`E and lies approximately 32km west of Ibadan and 35km North-east of Abeokuta in Odeda local government area of the Ogun State..Therefore, whatsoever is happening in and around the reserve is of international concern’
The association said it shares in the grief, agony and sorrow of the people of Olokemeji village particularly at the loss of a soul, and prayed that God will console members of the family and grant them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
‘Ogun FAN strongly believe that the intervention of the state government shall restore peace and tranquility to the village whereby the anomaly of sons and daughters of the soil being harassed, intimidated, maimed and killed by their invaders will be a thing of the past’.
‘It is appalling that the activities of the herdsmen in the area have assumed a large-scale dimension such that the village which is synonymous with the forest reserve could become totally desolate’.
‘This ugly development has grievous consequences on the status of the forest reserve. It is most unfortunate that this is happening at a time when the dividends of concerted efforts towards encouraging Private Partnership in forestry are unfolding in the state’.
‘Ogun FAN is strongly of the opinion that the state government must immediately put in place mechanisms to protect Olokemeji Forest Reserve and other forest reserves in the State from the activities of some dissident Fulani herdsmen’.
‘A stitch in time saves nine! The sacking of a whole village has serious multiplier effects on food production and forestry development. It is high time that the state constitute a special task force primarily focused on securing our forest estates from invaders’.
Penpushing reports that, the body declared that it frowned at a situation whereby forests that are supposed to serve as a source of hope for both the present and future generations are being desecrated by some herdsmen.
‘We cannot afford to wait till when our forests which hitherto served as laboratories become slaughter slabs. We must not wait till when the forests of hope become the forests of hopelessness for the good people of Ogun State and others who may come into the forests for one activity on the other’.
‘We must work with the reality that a rape of the self- esteem of the people of Olokemeji and ecological integrity of Olokemeji Forest Reserve is a rape on all the good people of Ogun State and all the forest reserves’.
‘The Association, in furtherance of its core principle, shall continually join hands with the government, relevant agencies of government, communities, organisations and individuals to salvage the remnants of our forests from intruders.
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