By Israel Afolabi
The State of Osun House of Assembly has directed officials of the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation to stop further lumbering at Mokore farm settlement pending the resolution of issues raised by the farmers in the area.
Speaker of the State Assembly, Dr. Najeem Salaam gave the directive through the Chairman House Committee on Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Gbadebo Ibrahim while addressing the aggrieved farmers who came to intimate the Assembly on the alleged destruction of their cocoa farms by the activities of the loggers.
Hon Gbadebo commended the farmers for the matured way of registering their grievances.
He acknowledged the petition by the farmers concerning destructive effects of lumbering activities on their cocoa farms, saying the House is taking action on it to ensure that the support programmes of the State Government to the farmers in its desire to make agriculture the mainstay of economy is not sabotaged.
Hon. Gbadebo stated that effort of the present administration is already yielding fruits in the agricultural sector.
According to him, “It is unthinkable that anybody would want to work at cross purposes with the policies of Government”.
He assured that the concerned authorities would be invited for a meeting with a view to finding a way out of the problem.
However, while addressing the House, the president of Mokore Co-operative farm settlement Orile-Owu, Mr A.R. Famakinde through the representative of the farmers, Chief Rasak Adedapo lamented the level of destruction caused by the officials of the Ministry of environment to their farm land.
According to him, “We want to use this medium to intimate this honourable house of the destruction of our farmland by the officials of the Ministry of Environment via their tree felling activities at Mokore farm settlement”.
Adedapo made it known that the land on the settlement is not all that good for Cocoa plantation, trees have to be spared to provide shade for cocoa during dry weather and combat adverse effect of climate change.
He noted that the Ministry of Environment is now forcefully falling trees on their Cocoa plantation, which is destroying the farm and causing set back that can lead to early grave to many farmers.
He said, “We also believed that the development is the handwork of some disgruntled element who wants to use the avenue to achieve their selfish ends. The action taken by the Ministry of Environment is tantamount to killing the hen that lay the golden eggs and the farmers would not allow that to happen”, he added.
Adedapo emphasised that the farmers at the farm settlement are law abiding citizen and it was through their efforts that the state can now boast of being the second largest producer of Cocoa in Nigeria after Ondo State.
The chairman of Mokore Cooperative farm settlement therefore appealed to the House to stop the action of the Ministry of Environment to avert crises in order not to pitch the farmers against the government.
He urged the lawmakers to come to their rescue.
He recalled the establishment of Mokore Cooperative farm settlement in 2003 with valid document to individuals allotted space for farming activities.