Edo govt orders arrest of two illegal wood loggers, goes after syndicate

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Edo State Government has ordered the arrest and prosecution of a syndicate of illegal wood loggers, who were allegedly, felling and transporting logs of wood in breach of a government order terminating permits on wood logging and outlawing such operations for environmental reasons.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security and Surveillance, Comrade Emmanuel Orukpe, said this when he paraded two persons, identified as Isaiah Kadiri and Victor Oboh, who were part of a syndicate  felling trees with fake permits in the Irrua part of the state.

He said the duo ran foul of an order proscribing activities of wood loggers and others who encroach on government reserved areas to fell trees, thereby indiscriminately depleting the state’s forest reserve.

According to him, “We have here two persons, who we caught transporting trees that were felled using illegal permit. Mr. Isaiah Kadiri is the operator and Victor Oboh, who claims to be the driver.

“We caught them after receiving intelligence report that some people were carrying logs of wood suspected to have been felled illegally. We swung into action, called a police officer in the Irrua axis and got them arrested.

“They were arrested at the Usugbenu-Irrua axis. Their logs were placed atop a White Passat vehicle and was being transported to a buyer. When we accosted them, they didn’t have any permit, which was even irrelevant because government has outlawed logging. The operator, Kadiri, said he is working for some persons, and we are on the lookout to fish them out.”

He warned those still involved in the business to desist from doing so, as the team of surveillance and security personnel are on the look out for those who still engage in illegal felling of trees. He assured that the teams are on the lookout for the syndicate, which the two suspects work for, noting that government wouldn’t relent in protecting the state’s forest assets

One of the suspects, Mr. Kadiri said that he worked for a syndicate in the Irrua area, noting, “I started the business in 2010. I work for some people; one of them is popularly called Eluba, the other is OJ. There is also Chief Okalu, who used to give me tickets, but he stopped issuing tickets in July. We go to them to collect tickets and then go into the forest to cut the logs. We stopped around July, when there was an order. But Eluba and OJ later said that they have resolved the issue and they started issuing tickets again.”