The government of Oyo State, on Tuesday, explained why it cancelled 26,000 hectares of forest lands, which was allocated to the immediate past government Abiola Ajimobi during his administration.
The state government, which made the explanation through the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, said that it was reprehensible for anyone to take possession of Forest lands, knowing the importance of forest resources to the ecosystem, humanity and animals.
Hon. Ayoola, who gave the explanations at a press briefing held after the State Executive Council meeting indicated that it was wrong to decapitate forest resources at a time that countries of the world were looking to increase their forest resources and curb global warming.
He noted that it was ungodly for anyone to cite agricultural production as basis for allocating forest lands for personal use, especially where there is a vast arable lands in the State for agriculture.
Other Commissioners at the briefing include the Commissioner for Education, Professor Dahud Shangodoyin and his Information and Mobilisation counterpart, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun.
The Environment Commissioner described as mendacious and misguided responses by some elements of the immediate past administration that the forest lands were allocated to individuals to boost 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 evem ungodly for anybody to do anything that will reduce the size of our forests and to 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.”
In his briefing, the Commissioner for Education, Shangodoyin, maintained that pupils and students of public schools in the state would resume on Monday, September 16, noting that ahead of the resumption, the Ministry was set to distribute textbooks, exercise books and other education materials to all public schools starting from Wednesday, 11th September.
The commissioner added that his Ministry would hold the symbolic distribution of textbooks and exercise books on 13 subjects as well as a compendium of past questions and answers to students.
He said the distribution would commence at the Bishop Philips Academy, Iwo Road, Ibadan and in Igboho for Oke-Ogun zone.
The Commissioner added that the compendium would be distributed to students of private and public schools, noting that the customised exercise books were started and completed by the Makinde government.
Shangodoyin maintained that the government would provide the running cost to schools upon resumption, while it would also begin to return N28 million to parents who have paid for entrance forms for secondary schools and Technical colleges in the state, just before Governor Makinde cancelled such payments.
He said, “We are taking stock of the teachers that we have. We have the mainstream teachers, the seconded teachers, the NPower, NYSC and PTA teachers, so we are in stock-taking to know how many teachers. We also want to know the distribution on the subjects.
“We also want to start off the extra-mural classes for SS3 students between Tuesday and Thursdays and weekends for them to be able to man the content of the syllabus. These are the plans we have for when school resumes on the 16th of September.”