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Indigenes of Ijebu-Ode area of Ogun State have begged the State governor, Dapo Abiodun not to sell the forest reserve in their area to the Chinese.
They made the appeal on Friday during a press conference held at Mobalufon town hall in Ijebu-Ode, under the aegis of Ijebu Sawmiller and Timber Contractors Association.
The chairman of the association, Isiaka Shittu and its secretary, Pastor Akinnukawe Funmileye in a statement made available to newsmen, stated that Abiodun will be doing a great harm to the indigenous community by selling the reserve.
They noted that the members of the association pay their taxes as at when due, stressing that the Chinese are taking over their source of income.
“We are reiterating to the Ogun State government that they are selling part of the forest reserve. We were told that the reserve has been listed out for 30 years to the Chinese.
“This is not supposed to be so. We that are working there with government permit, we are about 200 people. There are over 200 sawmills with over 2000 workers in Akile Ijebu and they pat tax regularly.
“We renew our tax regularly and despite that it’s increased when Dapo Abiodun become the governor, we didn’t show displeasure.
“And now, they’ve sold the land to the Chinese who are already constructing houses inside the reserve. This is against the constitution.”
They appealed to the state government to reverse the decision to sell the reserve to the Chinese, adding that it may trigger social menace as youth working in the reserve would be jobless.
“We are therefore pleading to the state government to have mercy on us because all the indigenes of Ibejuland are benefiting from the reserve which has now been sold to the Chinese.
“We are appealing to Dapo Abiodun to come to our aid so and not to make us jobless and indigent.
“Almost every family in Ijbebuland has a person dealing with timber.
We have over 40 youths that are graduates but resorted to timber works since there is no job. If they are denied their source of livelihood, they’re likely going to be engaged in something bad and cause social menace.
“That is why we are appealing to the Nigeria government to caution the state government led by Dapo Abiodun to not sell the property of Ijebuland to the Chinese.”
The association further noted that if the Chinese are luring the government with huge amount, they are ready to pay continue to their taxes.
“There is nothing the Chinese want to do that we haven’t done.
“We pay tax on every tree we cut down for another one to be replanted. But the government failed to do so. We don’t know how they divert the money.
“However, we are begging the state government to not sell the reserve to the Chinese at the mercy of the indigent people who depend on it.”
The conference was also attended by Bot Chairman, Alh Alliu Ibrahim; Bot Secretary Mr OpeOluwa Idowu, Bot Otunba Jide Fakayode; Ijebu East Timber Contractors Association Chairman, Mr Alausa Suraju; Secretary, Evangelist Fasasi Ariyo; Bot Taiwo Adeboyejo; Chairman Ijebu Sawmillers Association, Alhaji Olalekan Titilayo andChairman Ogun State Sawmillers Association, Mr OpeOluwa Idowu.
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