The Ondo State Government on Monday said it had started registering herdsmen in the state with the aim of ejecting unregistered herders from the state’s forest reserves.
The Special Adviser to state Governor on Security, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Akure where the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Governors Forum met.
It was gathered that herdsmen had started leaving the Ondo State’s forest reserves in deference to the state government’s order, which was backed by governors’ forum and the Miyetti Allah at their meeting on Monday.
The NGF and the cattle breeders’ meeting was on a seven-day ultimatum, which the state Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), on Monday last week issued herdsmen to vacate the state’s forest reserves.
He said, “The registration has commenced already. It has started today. My office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Amotekun office, is handling it.”
Dojumo, who confirmed that the herdsmen were already obeying the governor’s order, said the government would be waiting for more herdsmen to register.
At the meeting with the NGF, the cattle breeders supported the order made by Akeredolu, asking the herdsmen to vacate all the forest reserves.
The NGF and the cattle breeders agreed that illegal occupants of the forest reserves should be flushed out irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds while anybody that wanted to operate legally in the forest reserves should register with the state government.
Some of the members of the NGF that attended the meeting included Akeredolu of Ondo State, his Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola; Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Mohammed Badaru (Jigawa State); Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State.
In the communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the four-point directive of Akeredolu was adopted by all the stakeholders. The communiqué was read by the Chairman of the NGF, Fayemi.
The communiqué read, “The security and welfare of the people of Nigeria are the primary purposes of government as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended.
“The stakeholders are committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all.
“The order of the Ondo State Governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. He only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.