Sunday, 21 February 2021 05:18

South-west govs insist states must exercise authority over their forest reserves

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Governors from the south-west region have backed the resolution of the National Economic Council (NEC) for each state to manage its forest reserves.

The meeting, which also had some traditional rulers in attendance, took place at the executive chamber of Oyo state governor’s office in Ibadan.

In spite of NEC’s stance on forest reserves, Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi, had said citizens don’t need the permission of any governor to live in the forest of any state.

But while speaking with journalists at the end of Saturday’s meeting, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state said the south-west leaders support the decision of NEC.

“We believe that all the states should be in position to manage their forests and that will give the respective state governments power to determine who are in the forest and for what purpose,” Akeredolu said.

“And where we have people that are illegally in the forest the state should be able to take some steps so that we can preserve the forest.

“So all of us, including the traditional rulers, supported the decision of NEC on forest management.”

Akeredolu said they observed that the south-west states’ borders had become too porous, hence the need to do something urgently “to prevent foreign herdsmen coming into the country without any form of caution”.

He said: “We noted that a number of these foreign herders with their herds and cows are already in the country and what they do is something of concern to all of us and we believe our borders need to be tied.

“We need to tighten our borders so that all these foreigners, maybe from Niger or bordering states, coming with their herds and destroying farms are curbed.”

According to Akeredolu, the meeting also discussed the need for government to support cattle breeding just as “we have been supporting other areas of farming”.

“One of the areas we can support cattle breeding is to change the way and means cattle breeders are adopting now,” he said.

“This can be done by finding a designated area where cattle can graze, no need of trekking far with cattle but this issue of open grazing in this modern time must be looked at.”

He, therefore, called on the states and the federal government to look into areas of support for the cattle breeders.

He also appealed to the media on the need to assist the country in curbing the issue of fake news.


The Cable