Complaints by forest operatives refers and the purported loss of N5bn by loggers refer.
Let’s put the suspension order in perspective. First, the State Governernment had to suspend forest activities to forestall the over exploitation and illegal tree felling going on in its Forest Reserves across the State.
Activities suspended cover logging, timber exploitation, evacuation of logs and Forest Concession as well as activities in all Governernment and non-governmental open forest areas and not those that have to do with reforestation or agricultural activities and farming activities.
It wasn’t a punitive measure. When it became obvious that genuine farmers needed access to do some harvesting, in October, Government granted an eight-day waiver for the evacuation of perishable agricultural produce like tomatoes, vegetables, plantains and Bananas within forest reserves across the state.
The period of waiver was to relieve operators in the forest value chain from suffering incalculable losses.
Loaded trucks of timber were also allowed to move out of the reserves within the same period – Thursday 17th of October till Friday, 25th of October, while processed cocoa beans and ripe cocoa pods were allowed to harvest and move out of the forest reserves within the same period.
That intervention was necessary so as to prevent great economic loss and untold hardship to the operators in the reserve.
This is a listening Government and a people-friendly one. Government will continue to monitor and review situations in the reserves for effective utilization and sustenance of the forest.
I’ll enjoin all stakeholders to view the positive side of the suspension in this age of climate change and in the face of the overwhelming effects of what deforestation through tree logging felling and dispersal of animals in our rainforest from their natural habitat which their activities cause.
Thee state government expects total compliance from the Forest operators and seeks cooperation of all stakeholders for the maintenance of peaceful coexistence of humans, plants and animals in the reserves.
However, the state government is currently consulting with stakeholders with a view to implementing long lasting and sustainable solutions to manage forest reserves across state.