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It Is Illegal For Herdsmen To Encroach Reserves Without Permission -Adefarati

The commissioner for Agriculture in Ondo State, Mr Gboyega Adefarati has described the activities of the herdsmen in the government forest reserves as illegal saying the herders were not permitted to graze inside the forest.

In his reaction to the activities of herdsmen in the forest and seven days ultimatum given to them to vacate the forest, the commissioner said whoever want to farm or graze inside the forest must obtain permission from Ministry of Agriculture.

He said it is illegal for herdsmen to encroah the forest under the pretense of grazing their cattle, saying there are extant rules and regulations guiding the activities of farmers inside the forest.

Adefarati said unlike previous administration that jail erring farmers and herdsmen operating illegally inside the forest, Arakunrin Akeredolu government ensure that whoever want to farm inside the forest are duly registered and given hectares of land.

He further disclosed that over 50,000 farmers have been registered and proper monitoring of their activities were done to prevent criminality in the forest.

The commissioner said whoever desire to farm in the forest must apply to the ministry, saying no farming, hunting and animal rearing can be done without obtaining permission from the government through Ministry of Agriculture.

The Commissioner state read:

ONDO STATE GOVERNMENT FOREST RESERVES POLICIES AND REGULATION
As the Commissioner for Agriculture in Ondo State, it is pertinent and imperative to avail the general public of the policies of the State on forest reserves and conservation to lay to rest the unnecessary and unneeded arguments and reactions.

When our administration came on board in 2017, we discovered that over 70% of government reserves had been encroached by farmers. Many of whom desired the fertile, arable and virgin land to grow non-perennial crops. The previous administration of Mimiko arrested many and punitively punished them. A lot of the farmers irrespective of their States of origin served varying terms in jail, some paid heavy fines and many left their crops wastefully unharvested.

After a diligent research and report on Ondo State Government Forest Reserves in 2018, we came up with a symbiotic policy of taungya system. With stiff adherence to all regulations that protect animals and trees, farmers are registered to farm on Ondo State Government Reserves. With this, if you desire land to farm, you have to apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and the government after considering your application, shall grant the considered hectares of land in which you are regulated to do your legal and legitimate farming.

In retrospect, we have registered over fifty (50,000) thousands 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.

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 guilding Ondo State Forest are clear and concise on it.

Thank you.

Adefarati Gboyega,
Ondo State Commissioner for Agriculture.

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