By Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti

The Ekiti State House of Assembly, on Thursday, passed the Ekiti State Forestry Bill, 2016 into law, stating that forest thieves would henceforth be committed to jail, rather than be fined.

The passage of the bill into law  followed an extensive debate by the Assembly members at Thursday’s plenary over the various losses the state government has incurred in recent time due to activities of illegal loggers.

In his comment after the bill had been passed into law, Speaker of the House, Right Hon. Kola Oluwawole, maintained that the House would not sit down and fold its arms while some unscrupulous elements siphoned the state commonwealth.

He commended his colleagues for their robust contributions to the plenary debate prior to passing of the bill into law.

The development followed a motion moved by Honourable Dayo Akinleye, who acted as leader of business, and seconded by Honourable Temitope
Fasanmi.

The chairman of the House Committee on Health, Dr Babajide Omotosho, who also canvassed for a speedy passage of the law, the state government needed to look inwards in the face of dwindling oil revenue.

“At this time that the country is facing economic recession, the state needs to look inwards to other means generating income. The forestry resources are part of these other means.
The bill, if signed  into law, will checkmate those who are in the habit of going into government forest reserves without following the legal process and cutting government economic trees without following due process,” he said.

Meanwhile, government has impounded another set of over 2,500 planks
from four different loading points at Aramoko Ekiti.

The State Commissioner for Environment, Chief Bisi Kolawole who made
this known in Ado Ekiti said that the development was a result of the
close watch of the dark spots used by unscrupulous timber contractors
to defraud the State.

Stressing that the present administration would not allow any fraudulent person or group of people to continue fleecing the State with impunity, Kolawole said that the high-powered task force and enforcement unit set up by the State Government would continue to monitor the activities of timber contractors towards ensuring compliance to lay down procedures and curbing all forms of sharp
practices.

He warned timber contractors to desist from felling and processing more than the number of trees approved for them stressing that Government would continue to impound all illegally fell trees.