As part of measures to make forests in Ekiti uninhabitable for kidnappers and bandits and as well check illegal logging activities, the state government is considering employing more forest guards.
The state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said “as part of our strategies, we are giving license to loggers to fell mature trees in our forest reserves so that when the criminals know there are ongoing activities there, they will flee.”
Fayemi, who was represented by the Chairman, Ekiti State Forestry Commission, Kayode Olaosebikan, spoke in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday after receiving the report of a six-month survey of 31 cultural sites in the state, led by an expert, Dr Babajide Agboola, and staff members of the state forestry commission.
He said the recruited guards would ensure the implementation of forest laws to stop bandits from using forests as safe haven for nefarious activities, and checkmate illegal loggers depleting the forests.
The governor said, “The government is not unaware of the dreaded activities being perpetrated by some criminals in the forests. Efforts are being geared up to arrest the situation.
“The state forestry commission already has a proposal, which will be approved soon. We want to hire more guards to safeguard our forests against insecurity and illegal lumbering that can endanger our people and our economy.
“The government at present has enough personnel, but some of them will be retiring soon. We also feel that we should have more that can effectively cover our forest reserves so that our people and economy can be saved from wicked people.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Environment, Dr Akinyemi Akinyugha, said, “Most of the security threats happening around us are done in the forests across the states where bandits take their victims to; that is, where we also have illegal tree felling. That is why cutting and logging of trees must be regulated.”