The Ondo State Government has insisted that Fulani herdsmen would not be allowed to graze in the state forest reserves without getting permission like farmers.
Naija News reports that this was made known in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘Ondo State Government Forest Reserves Policies And Regulation’, by the State Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Adegboyega Adefarati.
The Ondo commissioner stated that it was illegal for any herdsmen to encroach on the state-owned forest reserves.
“We have registered over fifty (50,000) thousands of farmers who engage in different forms of agricultural activities in Ondo State Government Forest Reserves. With this, we regulate their activities and reduce criminality as we interface daily with farmers,” the statement reads.
“Love it or leave it; farming is farming, be it crop production or animal husbandry. If any Nigerian irrespective of his/her State of origin desires land for farming in Government Forest Reserves, he/she must apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and pay the normal fee for the required hectares of land. It is illegal for herdsmen to encroach Ondo State Government Forest Reserves without permission and graze on the farms, many of which will be destroyed.
“Let me say it again and again that no activity (hunting, planting crops and animal rearing) can be done in Ondo State Forest Conservation without permission. The laws guiding Ondo State Forest are clear and concise on it.”
Recall that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had ordered herdsmen in the state to vacate the forest reserves within a period of seven days counting from Monday, 18th January.
The Governor also banned night grazing as well as highway and under-age grazing in the state.
But the presidency in a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s media assistant, Garba Shehu, rejected Akeredolu’s ultimatum to herdsmen.
“It will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
“If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.,” Garba Shehu said.