Governors from the SouthWest zone of the country and some first class rulers on Saturday okayed the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) for each state in Nigeria to manage its forest.
This took place at a closed-door meeting which was held at the executive chamber of the Oyo state governor’s office, Agodi in Ibadan.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the meeting, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, who also is the chairman, SouthWest Governors Forum, said that the governors and traditional rulers supported the decision of NEC about forest management.
“We believe that all the states should be in position to manage their forest and that will give the respective state governments to power to determine who and who are in the forest and for what purpose.
“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 stated.
The Ondo state governor further said that they observed that the SouthWest states’ borders had become too porous and that they needed to do something urgently “to prevent foreign herdsmen coming into the country without any form of caution.
“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.
“This can be done by finding a designated area where cattle can graze, no need of trecking far with cattle but this issue of open grazing in this modern time must be looked at.”
He, therefore, called on the states and Federal Government in particular, to look into areas of support as much as they could, for the cattle breeders.
He concluded with an appeal to the media on the need to assist the country in curbing the issue of fake news, saying newsmen had a duty more than any other person, in carrying news as they are.
NAN reports that the meeting was to be attended by the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu and Director-General of the DSS Yusuf Bishi but they could not make the journey due to bad weather.
According to Akeredolu, the meeting was called by Prof Gambari, but unfortunately, the CoS and the two security heads were at the Abuja airport for long “but had to cancel because the weather could not allow them to fly.
“They contacted us and apologised but because we were here already we felt we should discuss a few things.”
The meeting had in attendance, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Mr Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Mr Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) the host governor Mr Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Rotimi Akeredolu, (Ondo).
Among the traditional rulers that participated in the meeting were the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Fedrick Akinrutan, Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Olugbon of Orilegbon, Oba Francis Alao.
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, in charge of SouthWest , Mr David Folawuyo, the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security agencies in Oyo state were also in attendance.