12th August, 2022
The Ogun State Government has refuted rumours making the rounds that it has sold parts of forest reserves in the Ijebu axis of the state, to foreign investors.
Ogun Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulwaheed Odusile, refuted the rumors while fielding questions from newsmen on the protest by timber merchants made up of Timber Sellers Association, Plank Sellers and Ijebu Sawmillers, and Timber Contractors Association on Thursday.
He said the forest reserves were concessioned by the immediate past administration in the state.
The Chairman, Board of Trustee, Timber and Saw millers Association, Ijebu-East, Mr. Taiwo Adeboye, Chairman, plank Sellers Association, Eyirin Chapter, Adesanya Sulaiman and Secretary, Ijebu Saw Millers and Timber Contractors Association, Akinukawe Funmileye, had led their members on a protest, accusing the state government of selling the only surviving forest reserves in the axis.
They called on the state government to rescind its decision as it would create unemployment and cause untold hardship on the people.
Odusile, however, insisted that the reserves were never sold by Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration, but were concessioned to two Nigerian companies for N800m per annum by the immediate past administration.
“Government is aware of their complaints. What they protested about is not the making of this present administration, but by the previous government. Since government is a continuum, we are looking into their complaints. The House of Assembly is also looking into the issues.
“I want to state categorically that the forest reserves were concessioned to two Nigerian companies. And it is just a part that was concessioned; the larger parts are still there for people to use. I can assure you that we did not sell the forest and we will resolve all the issues amicably”, he said.
Odusile reiterated that the present administration would not do anything that would bring hardship to the people, pointing out that the state government would always take the interests of the people into consideration before taking any major decision.