The Federal Government has said rampant logging of rosewood trees across the country by some Chinese and their Nigerian collaborators is depleting the forest reserves.
The Director General of Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) Dr Husseini Ibrahim who said this in a statement in Abuja yesterday added the tropical forest resources have been rendered unproductive by activities of loggers.
He said the Chinese businessmen were exploiting a lax regulating and enforcement environment, loopholes in existing laws and unwillingness of by some government official to give bite to existing policy on illegal trade in the export of the country's forest resources.
He said this has culminated in the harvesting and export of thousands of logs to China since 2013.
According to him, the illegal trade which gulped more than $1.3 billion dollars in West Africa alone, is decimating forests.
He said "Since 2011, the Chinese traders have been moving from one West African country to the other in search of rosewood. They started from the Gambia which became the largest exporter from the sub-region to China. As supplies dwindled in Gambia following an export ban, traders started exploiting Guinea Bissau, Togo, Benin, Ghana and recently, Nigeria. In 2014, more than 30,000 Chinese companies traded in rosewood products, generating domestic retail revenues of over $25 billion.
"By the end of 2014, rosewood export from Nigeria was about 242,203m3. In 2015, Nigeria has become the largest single exporter, accounting for 45% of total export to China with the hub located in Shagamu in Ogun State and increasing activities mounting up in Ikorodu, Lagos State. The Lagos/Ibadan Expressway and the Lagos/Shagamu/Ore road are littered with deposits where hundreds of thousands of rosewood and other logs are prepared for export.