Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu,SAN, has reiterated his position to evict all trespassers occupying forests reserve in the state.
The Governor said his administration will continue to eject and punish, in accordance with the law, anyone, either herder or farmer illegally occupying the forest reserves. Those who disobey the order, according to the governor will have themselves to blame.
Governor Akeredolu stressed that he will not relent on his decision to rid the State of undesirable elements, adding that his administration owes no one except the people of Ondo state, any further explanation or apology on the resolve to ensure peace in the state.
But Governor Akeredolu was quick to warn that those promoting successionist ideas were on their own. “Ondo State remains part and parcel of the entity called Nigeria and no parcel of our land shall be ceded to any succession promoter under any guise”, he said.
Besides, the governor reiterated his administration’s intention to participate in the Federal Government National Livestock Transformation Programme. “The programme is aimed at encouraging any private businessman who takes interest in breeding cattle to participate in the modern methods for profit”, he said.
The Governor who spoke at the swearing-in of the first female Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu and four Special Advisers charged anyone who intends to engage in a private business of animal husbandry, in this age, must be ready to abide with the modern methods or quit.
“We, therefore, reiterate our stance on the prohibition of open grazing by cattle rearers in any part of Ondo State. On this, there shall be no compromise.
“In a similar vein, we will continue to arrest any under-age herders in the State. The Government will prosecute the mindless handlers of these unfortunate kids.
“We will insist on punishing any errant herdsman and exact compensation commensurate to the level of destruction of farms and businesses in any part of the State.
“Anyone who commits a crime under the guise of outmodelled pastoralism shall be sanctioned severely. We will proceed to mobilize the people against this menace. The people of Ondo State will not accept any aberrant incursion into our space.” He noted.
Governor Akeredolu said his administration will not shirk its responsibilities in any manner, saying he will not mortgage the future of the coming generations for political expediency.
He said:”We do not want to be seen as politically correct when our people are dying and/or losing their legitimate means of livelihood.
“We shall not embrace the counsel of the treacherous and wicked. The welfare of the people shall remain the primary focus of governance.
“No one will be allowed to trample on the rights of our people. The people of Ondo State shall not become underlings in their own space.
“We will also not be afraid to take decisions considered beneficial to our people. We shall be encouraging all those interested in animal husbandry to embrace new methods.
“Indigenes of this State who wish to take to that aspect of agriculture shall enjoy the support of the Government. Non-indigenes with verifiable identities shall be allowed to bring in cattle to designated Ranches and Feed lots.
“They shall be permitted to graze on the Ranches for a fee. We will not cede the land of our ancestors to any person under any guise. All legitimate endeavours shall be supported by the Government for as long as they are of direct benefit to the people of Ondo State.
“It is not about sustaining the antiquated cultural practice which allows cattle to move from the remotest parts of the Sahel region to the savannah.
“It is not about a settlement of an ethnic group foreign to Ondo State on our land. It is to be funded by the Federal Government, our people must be active participants on our soil.
“The State shall generate revenue from cattle feeding in ranches, slaughtering of cows, among others. Pastoralism is not the exclusive preserve of an ethnic group.
“Trends in the modern business of animal husbandry should be of direct concern to the State. The proposed ranches shall not be for human habitation in Ondo State.
“All those who bring in cattle and the herds shall be registered. Nobody will be allowed to form new settlements on our ancestral lands. Cattle rearing shall be for business, strictly, in Ondo State.”
Source:- Independent Ng