Officials of the Edo State Public Works Volunteers (PUWOV) have apprehended a suspected syndicate of illegal wood loggers who were allegedly caught felling and transporting trees at the forest reserve in Imoga Community, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
The PUWOV state commander, Mukhtar Yusuf-Osagie, who disclosed this to journalists in Benin City, called for the support of all citizens and stakeholders in protecting and preserving forest assets in the state.
He said the three-man syndicate, apprehended through intelligence reports by residents of the community, has been handed over to the police for further interrogation and prosecution.
Yusuf-Osagie said, “Officials of PUWOV in Edo State have apprehended a three-man syndicate of illegal wood loggers that have been operating in the Forest Reserve at Imoga Community in Akoko-Edo LGA of Edo State.
“Our findings revealed that the syndicate specialised in illegal logging of woods in Akoko-Edo Forest Reserve in Edo State, in breach of government’s directives and extant laws on wood logging.”
The PUWOV commander said the suspects, who confessed to having transited from Kogi State, were caught with a motor-saw machine while logging and removing the woods in the forest reserve.
He added, “Our team was recently alerted to the rising incidence of illegal logging of woods in the state forest reserves by a group of suspected criminals from Kogi and other neighbouring states that have been illegally logging woods in Akoko-Edo.
“In a bid to complement the government’s efforts at ensuring a crime-free state and improve general security, in partnership with other security agencies, we immediately deployed men and resources to high-incident areas in local councils to curtail the menace.
“At about 11 am on May 7, 2022, an anonymous caller tipped off a PUWOV team about the activities of some criminal elements in the act of wood logging. The team immediately invaded the area and apprehended the three-man syndicate while they were busy felling the woods in the forest reserve at Ibillo, in Akoko-Edo.”