Group accuses Akeredolu of handing over forest reserves to son’s crony

…It’s plot to blackmail Akeredolu’s family – Ondo

A group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Concerned Timber Merchants, has accused the state government of having a clandestine plot to hand over the state forest reserves to a consultant company allegedly linked to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s son, Babajide

This came 48 hours after the state government lifted the ban on the activities in the forests reserves in the state after it had been banned for almost two months.

The group, in a statement issued by its state Coordinator, Alhaji Olawole Idris alleged that Akeredolu’s family was on a mission to siphon all resources of the state before leaving the state by February 2025.

It also alleged that the governor’s son had been using one Ilesanmi Ademola, also known as Brainbox, as his frontman for this shady deal, noting that the state government intentionally placed a ban on all activities in the forests in August, to enable it to perfect all necessary documents before the new consultancy company begins operations.

The statement read, “We are concerned about the recent activities in the state forest reserves and we believe it is pertinent for us to raise alarm before our state becomes insecure and bankrupt mainly because of the activities of a person who is hellbent on milking the state dry.

“For decades, our forest reserves have been one of the sources where government generates revenues. It is very unfortunate for the governor’s son to make frantic efforts to turn this into an avenue of making money for his pocket all in the name of bringing a consultant that will be in charge of the operations in our forest reserve.

“Enough is enough, we are appealing to all stakeholders in the state to speak up and condemn this criminal act being spearheaded by Babajide Akeredolu and one Ilesanmi Ademola, popularly as Brainbox.

“We won’t allow Akeredolu and his son to cripple the sunshine state. He has given the power to his son to an extent that he (Babajide) now determines who and who would serve in his cabinet. We are aware that the new commissioner that may likely be in charge of the ministry of natural resources has already pledged his loyalty and also keyed into the new criminal arrangement.”

However, in a reaction, the government, in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information Mr Donald Ojogo, described the allegation as falsehood and mischievous, meant to blackmail the immediate family of the state governor.

“It has come to our notice that some unscrupulous individuals have perfected plans to blackmail the Akeredolu administration, using the first family as a target of their smear campaign. The plan, which was hatched and orchestrated by these individuals, particularly targeted the governor’s son, Babajide Akeredolu, on allegations of high handedness and interference with serious government decisions, especially as it relates to the economic activities at the government reserves.

“Succinctly, the purveyors of this heinous plot have perfected plans to lie against the governor and his son of attempting to take over the management of the forest reserves so as to corner the resources for personal gains. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Akeredolu handles the business of government with utmost respect and accountability. The government decision to ban all logging activities and subsequent lifting of the ban, are all in the interest of the state.

“This government is exploring all avenues and blocking loopholes to shore up its Internally Generated Revenue so as to ensure that more funds are brought into the government coffers to drive development in the state. We will not fold arms and allow disgruntled elements to ruin the gains that have been recorded and being consolidated on in the state.

“Under this administration, we have recorded significant progress and growth in our IGR. For a government that has shown accountability and readiness to explore all economic angles for the progress of the state in the past four years, it is not only laughable but, preposterous for any disgruntled group to suggest that Governor Akeredolu’s son was planning to man the ministry of natural resources for personal gain,” the statement read.

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