Oyo’s environment and natural resources commissioner, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, has revealed how a former governor allocated 26,000 hectares of forest reserve land in the state to himself and his cronies.
Though Ayoola, who is a former speaker of the state assembly didn’t mention the name of the former governor, he, on Facebook, quoted the ministry’s officials as telling that the unnamed ex-governor took 6000 hectares for ‘themselves’ at Gambari Forest Reserve and sliced off 20,000 hectares at Ọ̀pàrà Forest Reserve.
Saying that the government has revoked the land, Ayoola challenged the former governor to sue him if the allegation is not true.
The other day I said that individual is a garrulous misfit who ran a criminal enterprise in Oyo State and his supporters went ga-ga like a man into whose anus grounded pepper has been infused. I read how his cyber-hyenas went after me on that thread.
I shook my head in sympathy for them because they have been employed to be online warriors for a man they do not know – I heard some of them are paid N25K, others N10K to do the dirty job on social media. He has either succeeded in blind-siding them to the facts or they are plain stupid.
On the 15th of 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 the 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 course, 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!