The Timber Traders Organisation (TTO) in Ondo state Wednesday took to the streets protesting the ”Anti Smuggling” policies of the state government which they claim is drastically affecting their daily business.
By; ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure.
Marching througg Oke Isinkan area through Arakale and NEPA areas to the Governor’s office, members of the Organisation in their numbers chanted solidarity songs to compel Government to re open the Forest.
With various inscriptions on placards, they sang unprintable hymns to protest the level of hardship been encountered by them as bread winners of their families.
It will be recalled that Government had about two weeks ago embarked on the closure of Forestry across the state, an act which the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi said was for the main time.
According to him, The Government of Akeredolo Oluwarotimi is not ready to make life difficult for the people of the state that voted him into power, he promised to deliver their message to the Governor as soon as he comes back from his Abuja trip.
He also disclosed that the Forestry closure is not the only issue, saying the freezing of Local governments Accounts has been on and that everything will be settled in due course since Akeredolu is people friendly
Trade Organisation said the earlier the Forests are re opened the better now that the rainy season is fast approaching, knowing full well that Timber business can not be carried out in the rainy period.
Rather than closing the Forests, they advised the Government to set up a Task Force which could checkmate the excesses of Forest encroachers and the extortion activities of Forest Guards across the state.
Other allegations against the Forest Guards is the levying of over N20,000 fee per truck load of Timber which they claimed are often not receipted owing to their ”selfish” interests.
They are also protesting the erection of multiple illegal control posts along Igbatoro/Arakale /Akure Ofosu forest reserve road where negotiated fee of N1,000 and above is paid by members on a truck load of timber.
Leaders of the Organisation that led the protest were Comrades Olatunde Omotosho, Oloruntobi Akinyelu and Adesanya Fayehun among others.