Abeokuta — A monitoring and enforcement team of the Ogun State government has demolished four settlements it deemed as illegally established in the state forest reserve.

The exercise also affected the destruction of crops, including freshly planted cocoa and plantain trees in the Elephant Concession Area and Eseke, Baoku and Korede villages, all in the J1 forest reserve.

The team also pulled down four new “illegal” structures in Sojukodoro, J1, and as well confiscated the motorcycle of a suspected offender who escaped arrest.

The Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Tunji Akiosi, represented by the Director of Forestry, Regulations and Utilisation, Mr Tayo Alamu, said yesterday that the development was meant to serve as a deterrent to those operating illegally within the reserve.

Akiosi declared that it would no longer be business as usual for those engaging in illegal farming, settlement and other human activities, which, according to him, were detrimental to proper forestry growth, management and development in the state.

“Anyone found engaging in illegal felling of trees, logging, flitches and other unwholesome activities would be severely dealt with by the law. Economic trees and other protected biosphere areas within the reserve are not to be occupied by human beings,” he warned.

The commissioner reiterated that reserves in the state would be highly protected and guarded against encroachment for Ogun State to have a balanced ecosystem that would boost the economic development of the state.

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