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The government of Ekiti state has destroyed a 20-hectare Indian hemp plantation located within the Ise Forest Reserves in Ise Orun Local Government Area of the State.

Ekiti News reports that Officers from the State Forestry Task Force conducted the operation by setting the plantation ablaze.

The government emphasized its unwavering commitment to tackling illegal activities within the state forest reserves while simultaneously fulfilling its mandate to decrease deforestation rates.

Sunday Adekunle, the Executive Secretary of the State Forestry Commission, announced this on Sunday in Ado-Ekiti.

He explained that the operation was prompted by a tip-off regarding illicit activities within the Government Reserves along the Ise axis.

The Executive Secretary emphasized that enhancing the productivity of the state forest reserves and eliminating criminal elements from these areas are top priorities for the Commission.

He said the 20-hectare Indian hemp plantation and nursery prepared for transplanting of the illegal weeds were destroyed in the operation.

Adekunle stressed that the recent recruitment of 22 new forest officers and 17 boundary guards by the Governor Biodun Oyebanji-led administration was having the required multiplier effect, in terms of improved security through regular patrols of the forest reserves.

The Executive Secretary further said that efforts were on to encourage local farmers to engage in farming activities on some lands within the forest reserves through agroforestry methods, particularly through planting of tree seedlings being currently raised at the Commission’s Central Nursery at Erinfun in Ado-Ekiti.

Adekunle disclosed that the commission would continue to embark on public education and sensitisation on key areas such as tree planting, wildlife, fire control and other matters, in its bid to boost forest conservation and afforestation efforts in the state.

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