Ondo govt vows not to back down on Fulani herdsmen’s registration

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The Ondo State Government says there is no going back on the plan to ensure that all Fulani herdsmen operating in the state are duly registered.

The State Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Adegboyega Adefarati, who stated this on Wednesday, added that no herdsman would be allowed to graze his cattle in Ondo forest reserves without permission.

He noted that more than 50,000 farmers in the state have complied with the state government’s directive to register in order to be permitted to continue carrying out activities around the state’s forest reserves.

The commissioner said that the herdsmen must also comply with the directive.

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This followed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s seven-day ultimatum for Fulani herdsmen occupying the state’s forest reserves to vacate.

Akeredolu who said that the herdsmen’s activities in the forests were a threat to the security of the state, issued the ultimatum on Monday while meeting with leaders of Hausa/Fulani and Ebira Communities in the state.

However, the presidency said that the Fulani herdsmen must not be victimised for criminal activities perpetrated by others, noting that criminality has no ethnicity.

In a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the presidency said it was “least expected” for thousands of herders that have lived all their lives in the state to be unilaterally ousted by Akeredolu on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.

In a statement on Wednesday, Adefarati said that the herdsmen have not rights to encroach into the state government-owned forest reserves.

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The commissioner said, “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.

“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.”

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