Friday, February 23, 2024

15-year-old boy, seven others arrested for encroaching, causing havoc on forest reserves

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

No fewer than eight young persons have been arrested for allegedly encroaching on Osun State Forest reserves and creating havoc therein.

The Police arrested the suspects, including a 15-year-old boy, David John at Sasa and Ago-Owu forest reserves, owned by the state government.

Other suspects were Asimiyu Tijani, aged 42; Adeniyi Tunde, 26; Muyideen Musibahudeen, 19; Adeniyi Sunday, 17; Tajudeen Azeez, 27; Akinbamiji Pelumi Samuel, 23; and Babatunde Sodiq, 23.

The Point gathered that the nabbed youngsters were hired by some log fellers as labourers at the government reserves and that they were arrested while cutting trees in the areas by some guards.

They were all taken to Dugbe Police Station, Osogbo and after investigation, the suspects were arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court, sitting in Osogbo for forcible entry and attempting to cause felony at the government forest reserves.

One of the charges read, “That you Asimiyu Tijani, Adeniyi Tunde, David John, Muyideen Musibahudeen, and Adeniyi Sunday, between 2nd and 5th of May, 2023 at Sasa forest, Area 5, within the Magisterial District of this Honourable Court, did forcibly enter Government Reserved to commit havoc and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 81 of Criminal Code CAP 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.

“That you (defendants), on the same dates and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of the peace and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 249(D) of Criminal Code CAP 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.”

Another charge read, “That you Tajudeen Azeez, Akinbamiji Pelumi Samuel and Babatunde Sodiq, on the 2nd day of May, 2023 at Ago-Owu Forestry Reserve within the Magisterial District of this Honourable Court did forcibly enter Government Reserved to commit havoc and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 81 of Criminal Code CAP 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.

“That you (defendants) on the same date and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of the peace and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 249(D) of Criminal Code CAP 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.”

Meanwhile, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the accusations. They were legally represented in court by their counsel, Wole Omotosho.

Police Prosecutor, Inspector Adeoye Kayode, informed the court that the Osun State Government, which was the nominant complainant in the matter, indicated interest to withdraw the matter from court.

The presiding Magistrate, M. A. Olatunji, asked an Assistant Chief Forestry Superintendent, Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Oduola, who accompanied the suspects to court, if the state government was withdrawing the case and he confirmed it saying, “They have settled and we want them freed.”

It was gathered that the log fellers who hired the suspects paid some fines to the state government, hence the decision of the government to discontinue with the matter.

Consequently, Magistrate Olatunji ruled, “The prosecution, having indicated interest to withdraw the charge, application of bail is overtaken by events and the matter is hereby struck out.”

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