Oyo state government has said that it was wrong for the immediate past governor of the state to allocate 26,000 hectares forest lands to himself.
The state’s Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Kehinde Ayoola who spoke on the allocation to Ajimobi during a joint press briefing on Tuesday in Ibadan after the State Executive Council meeting, said the state government revoked the allocation because it wants to protect the environment from deforestation.
Ayoola frowned at some reactions from elements close to Ajimobi who kicked against the revocation. He said claims that the former governor wanted to use the lands for agriculture was not convincing enough since there are other arable lands in the state that can be used for agriculture.
He said: “You will recollect that yesterday, it was in the news that the Oyo State Government revoked the allocation of forest lands to individuals. About 20,000 hectares at Opara in Oke Ogun and 6,000 hectares in Gambari in Oluyole Local government Area of Oyo State.
“It is to that fact that those elements have been saying that the allocations were made to boost agricultural production. But if anybody gets to these sites now, there is no agricultural production going on there and we want members of the public not to be misled.
“We want to educate the public on why the government for Governor Makinde is so touched by this act of a prodigal. Forests are essential in the management of the ecology of our state in such a way that it assists in fighting global warming, which is a precursor of climate change. Forests help to clean the air; take off atmospheric carbon dioxide, which affects human, plant and animal life and refills it with the freshness of oxygen.
“Forests also contain plants with their roots which help to bind the soil together to ensure there is no erosion.
“So, to avoid ecology disaster; you need forests. Nations of the world look to preserve and increase the size of their forest resources, so it is actually antithetical to good living, antithetical to public-spiritedness and even ungodly for anybody to do anything that will reduce the size of our forests and take such for themselves.
“The Engr. Makinde administration is not only revoking the forests but we are also taking steps to expand our forest resources.”
Other Commissioners at the briefing include the Commissioner for Education, Professor Dahud Shangodoyin and his Information and Mobilisation counterpart, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun.