In a bid to ensure sustainable management and sanitization of government Forest Reserves in the State of Osun, The Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, Hon. Solagbade Oladepo led a team to have an on-the -spot inspection of Shasha Forest Reserve in Ife South Local Government Area of Osun State.
The Shasha Forest Reserve which is one of the oldest reserves in Nigeria is widely recognized for its richness in tangible and intangible forest produces of economic values, which supply raw materials to our sawmill industries and thereby generates substantial revenue for the state government.
Hon. Oladepo during the inspection tour revealed that Osun State Government will no longer tolerate any form encroachment or indiscriminate activities in the reserve.
He disclosed that large areas of land have been illegally cultivated by local farmers, leading to the deforestation of the reserve.
According to him, one of the pressing challenges to the reserve is that the purported apportioned 30 square miles of land given to the villagers for arable farming had been illegitimately extended to 50-55 square miles which are either used for building or planting cash crops, hence destroying the forest products.
He stated the factors that induced the problems which includes retrenchment of forest guards and nursery workers by previous administration, lack of efficient management by the authority and lack of understanding about forest reserve estates by the villagers.
The Commissioner hinted that the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation on its part will re-present the white paper on the report of the Public Hearing by the Inter-Ministerial Committee to address Alleged Illegal Entry, Demarcation Allocation & Farming
In the Shasha Forest Reserve, Ile Ife to the state governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, who will this time around, set up an implementation committee that will find a lasting solution to the the forest reserve.
He further emphaized that there will be a complete enumeration of the people encroaching on government reserves in the state, with the goal of restricting them, saying the government through his Ministry plans to start afforestation by year 2020.
The places visited within Shasha Forest Reserve Area are Olomi Dudu River, King Sijuade village and Omi Funfun all in Ife South Local Government Area of the State of Osun.
Also present at the inspection tour were The Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Hon. Rufus Oyegbile, The permanent secretary, Dr. Temitope Oladele, Director of Forestry, Mr. Olayiwola Akanji, among others.