Governors, traditional rulers and Security Chiefs in the Southwest zone of the country have endorsed the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) on forest management.
The decision, reached during a closed-door meeting in the Governor’s office in Ibadan, allows each State government to take control of its forest reserves to check criminal activities.
Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, the current Chairman of Southwest Governors Forum, told Journalists that the meeting discussed the issue of Southwest border security.
According to him, the porousness of the Southwest border poses a great threat, hence the need to support the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) on forest management.
“Following our discussion, we all agreed that the time is now that we support the decision of the National Economic Council (NEC) about forest management.
“We believe that all the States should be in position to manage their forests; that will give enough room to determine who are there and what purpose are they serving.
“Where we have people that are illegally in the forest, the State should be able to take some steps so that we can preserve our forest.
“So, all of us supported NEC’s decision on forest management.
“We also agreed that our borders have become too porous and we need to do something urgently to prevent foreigners or foreign herdsmen (from) coming into this country without any form of caution.
“We need to tighten our borders so that all these foreigners (stop) coming with their herds and destroying our farms.”
Akeredolu said the stakeholders discussed the need for government to support cattle breeding as they had done in other areas of faming.
“As we are supporting other areas of farming, the need for the government to support cattle breeding is now.
“One of the ways we can support cattle breeding is to change the way and means cattle breeders are adopting now.
“We can find a designated grazing area where cattle can graze; we do not have to struggle for grass afar.
“This issue of open grazing in this modern time must be looked at and government at all levels should look into this.”
The forum also warned purveyors of fake news to desist from the mischievous act.
“You need to assist us so that this issue of fake news is played down; something has to be done.
“Journalists have a duty more than any other person to carry news as they are.”
He also explained why the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari; Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu and the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi couldn’t be in Ibadan for the meeting.
“The unfortunate thing is that the Chief of Staff and Security Heads have been at the airport in Abuja, until they had to resign to fate following the fact that the weather could not allow them to fly.
“So, they had to cancel the flight.
“They got across to us and apologised; we felt that since we were already here, we can still sit and discus a few things,” Akerodolu said.
Southwest governors who attended the meeting include the host governor, Seyi makinde of Oyo State and Ekiti State governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Others are Ondo State governor and Chairman of Southwest Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu; Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola and Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun.
Also at the meeting were the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Southwest, David Folawiyo, Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko and Security Chiefs serving in Oyo State.
The traditional rulers in attendance include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi.
Others are Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji and Olugbon of Orile-Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao. (NAN)