The Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources in Oyo State, Kehinde Ayoola, has accused a former governor of the state of illegally allocating 26,000 hectares of the state’s forest reserves to himself and associates.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Ayoola, stated that he has gotten the approval of Governor Seyi Makinde to revoke the alleged illegal allocations and collaborate with the Ministry of Justice for further action.
He however did not mention the name of the former governor. While the immediate past governor of the state is Senator Abiola Ajimobi, two other governors that have run the state in the last 20 years are Senator Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala.
In the post which started with a tirade on those he refered to as “cyber-hyenas” who purportedly attacked him on social media for criticising the former governor in question, Ayoola said he learnt of the illegal allocation on August 16, 2019, his second day in office.
He said the illegal allocations occured at Gambari Forest Reserve where 6000 hectares were allegedly taken and Opara Forest Reserve where the alleged illegal allocation was up to 20,000 hectares.
He wrote: “On the 15th August, 2019, I was appointed by Governor Seyi Makinde to oversee the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. That was not the name of that ministry up to May 29th, 2019. It was known as Ministry of Environment and Water Resources. However, by some bureaucratic restructuring, the Governor added some departments to the ministry and added the Natural Resources bit.
“One of those departments is Forestry which used to be in the Agriculture ministry.
“On the 16th August, my 2nd day in office, I invited Directors in the ministry to brief me. You know, just to get a hang on things. It was while I took on the Forestry department that I got a shocker about how the late government pillaged our forest resources.
They just awarded prime Forest land to themselves.
For the records, Oyo State has 9 Forest Reserves, namely:
- Gambari FR, 11,431 hectares
- Osho FR, 3,704
- Ijaiye FR, 28,491.
- Olokemeji FR, 7,511.
- Lanlate FR, 7,507.
- Igangan FR, 39,627.
- Olaseinde FR, 686.
- Ooko/Iroo FR, 2,300.
- Opara FR, 248,640.
“Gambari is located in Oluyole Local Government Area while Opara, the largest, traverses about 3 LGs in Oke-Ogun area namely: Iwajowa, Shaki and Kajola LGs.
“I was told they took 6000 hectares for themselves at Gambari Forest Reserve. At Ọ̀pàrà Forest Reserve, he sliced off 20,000 hectares.
“What makes these acquisitions reprehensible, and environmentalists and conservationists will agree, is that Forests are very vital in the fight against Global Warming and its attendant problem of Climate Change.
“Nations of the world are looking to not only preserve their forest resources but they are adding to it. But our man was trying to take away from our forest.
“Of cos, with the concurrence of His Excellency GSM, I have revoked the illegal allocations. We shall collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to take further necessary action.
“I hope someone will sue me for exposing this. They will then meet maggots inside their plate of salt!
“Glory to God in the highest Who has put Oyo State in safe hands.”