The government of Ogun State in Southwest Nigeria has uncovered a yet-to-be-completed flyover bridge allegedly being built by illegal loggers in the Omo forest reserve.
The 50-meter-long bridge, which is under construction is being built across the Oluwa River in the boundary between the forest reserve in Ogun State and Ondo State.
The bridge was uncovered during an inspection exercise by the state Ministry of Forestry, led by Tunji Akinosi, the Commissioner for Forestry.
Akinosi ordered the settlers in the forest to pull down the bridge within two weeks before the next inspection exercise.
The commissioner alleged that the bridge was being constructed by illegal loggers “for easy transportation of the state’s forest resources to neighbouring states”.
He expressed concern over the spate of illegal logging in the forest reserve, threatening that perpetrators would be arrested and prosecuted.
The commissioner noted that the monitoring exercises would become frequent “in order to prevent banditry which is becoming prevalent nationwide”.
“The present administration would not fold its arms and allow illegal settlers to take over the forest reserve,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Omo forest reserve is a tropical rainforest located in the Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state. It occupies an area of 130,500 hectares (322,000 acres)
According to a magazine report, Nigeria’s Omo Forest Reserve provides habitat for animals like elephants.
However, the reserve has suffered heavy deforestation due to unchecked operation by illegal loggers and farmers. It has reportedly lost more than seven per cent of its tree covers over the past two decades.
Also, a Special Report in the January 3 edition of Daily Trust reported how unchecked activities by illegal loggers, poachers and farmers have led to heavy loss of trees in the forest and have caused animals like elephants to migrate from the forest.
The report asserted that the state government has lost huge revenue as a result of illegal logging and farming in the forest reserve.