Members of the Ijebu Sawmills and Timber Contractors Association have urged the Ogun State Government not to sell the state’s last surviving forest reserve to foreigners in order to avoid mass unemployment and enhance instability in the area.
They say the economy of Ogun East depends on the forest reserve as thousands of direct and indirect employment are created in the reserve and even at different sawmills across the state.
The members went on to say that they live on the forest reserve in Ijebuland and are concerned about the present development in the area, claiming that the state government has leased the majority of the reserve to a foreign corporation.
They noted that they are generating more than 600 million naira to the purse of the state Government and help the state to reduce insecurity by creating employment opportunities for thousands of unemployed youths.
They want the government to rescind its decision on the lease or sale of the forest reserves and to allow the indigenes to continue to manage the affairs of the reserves as it has been for decades.
While reacting on behalf of the state Government, the Commissioner for Information in Ogun State claimed that the concession of the forest reserve was done before the incumbent administration and that they are working on the matter.
He called for calm, noting that the Governor will not do anything that will affect the welfare and economy his in people.