Osun state government reveals plans to plant one million tree seedlings to mitigate the effects of deforestation in the state.
The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Mr Oladepo Atanda made this known on Wednesday in Osogbo.
Atanda stated that the activities of illegal wood loggers in government reserved forests and felling trees had a negative effect on the ecosystem.
He added, “Tree felling has a lot of negative implications on the ecosystem and climate change.
“We have gone through a lot of seminars in this respect with all our staff involved and we have been doing a lot of advocacy to educate our people.
“We have taken charge of the forests after we noticed that a lot of encroachment had gone into the forest reserves, especially the one at Sasa in Ile-Ife.
“People have encroached into the reserves to cut trees illegally, and farm but we have court injunction to uproot all the illegal things planted in the forest reserve to give way for the tree planting programme of the government”.
He said Governor Gboyega Oyetola, planned to plant a minimum of one million trees in the state.
According to him, the programme is part of the 25 million tree planting programme of the Federal Ministry of Environment, through the National Council on Environment proposed for the year 2020.
Atanda said that the state emphasised and notified the Federal government of its proposed plan during a meeting with the Minister of Environment in Abuja.
He said the state government needed the support of the Federal government to achieve the objective.
“Government reserve is reserved a long time before most people were born and gazetted, and anybody or community can not go into the reserves.
“All illegal occupants of the reserve should vacate before the state government commences the tree planting; they have been felling trees and the forest is highly depleted, ” he warned.
He said there were provisions for loggers to conduct their business, warning that illegal operators would be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
The commissioner added that nobody would be allowed to destroy government reserves, pointing out that those reserves were sources of revenue for the state and the pride of Nigerians.