The closure of the state Forest Reserves about two months ago by the State Government was done when it was obvious that the forest potentials of the state were being depleted.
Speaking while receiving the report of the State Forest Verification Committee in his office in Akure, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said plundering of the state forest resources will no longer be tolerated.
Arakunrin Akeredolu said the forest reserves will no longer be available for any form of illegal activities as intense policing of the forest and all activities related to forest resources in the state will be adequately monitored to ensure compliance with the laws of the state on logging, lumbering and wood processing.
The governor said those who have valid papers to operate in government reserves can begin to do their normal businesses as from 15th June, 2017.
However those who have refused to make proper payments towards revalidating their papers or those who refused to appear before the committee during its sittings should look elsewhere for other jobs as government will henceforth enforce the law to the letter so that only licensed operators are allowed in the forests and wood related businesses in Ondo State.
While thanking the six-man committee for a job well-done, the Ondo State Governor said its recommendations were explicit enough and that government would upon careful study work out modalities to begin to implement them.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Dapo Oloye had highlighted the strength of the state as regards its forests potentials but regretted that encroachment has become a big problem to the state. He added that lots of Forest Allottees and Sawmill Operators did not show up to be verified .
The Chairman stated that out of 336 Sawmillers operating in the Ondo State only 149 appeared before the committee and 93 recommended for operation. He added that quite a lot of government land mass for forest purposes are currently being used for non-forest activities.
A case made for a change in the nomenclature of the Department of Forest Exploration and Utilization in the Ministry of Natural Resources was immediately consented to by the governor. The department will as from now on be known as Department of Forest Management and Utilization.