Timber traders in Ondo State have appealed to the state government to reopen the forest reserves which had been closed by the government since last month, saying the closure had negatively affected their living.
The state government ordered the closure of the forest reserves across the state in August following the activities of some unauthorised persons in the forest.
The government then directed the state security network agency also known as Amotekun Corps, to arrest anyone found in the forest after the order.
To this end, the timber traders under the auspices of the Association of Timber Traders Contractors of Nigeria, Ondo State Chapter, in a statement issued by the chairman of the association, Mr Alaba Afere, on Tuesday, urged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to reverse the order in the interest of the people who were making their means of livelihood from the forest.
According to the statement, there was a need for reconsideration of “the government action and reopening the forest reserves and the free area for the overall interest of the chain networking of timber trade operators across board.”
The statement read,
“The unduly suspension of all timber trade business and activities which serve as the mainstream of income affects our well-being and overall sustenance – as a source of living. At least 40 per cent of the population of Ondo State are directly and indirectly connected to or involved in the activities of the timber business. We were not being given a prior notice nor consideration, and now at the mercy of the government to do legitimate jobs to make ends meet.”
Describing the order of the government as unpleasant, the timber traders noted that “losing timber industry in the state is as good as disengaging about 40 per cent working class in the state”.
While appealing to the governor, to take urgent action on all the challenges facing the timber business in the state, the ATTC said there was a need to save the timber business in the state so as not to render those in the business jobless.