All states should manage their forests, South-West governors say

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Southwest Governors on Saturday adopted the decision by the National Economic Council on forest ownership and management across the country.

Rising from a security meeting in the Oyo State Government House in Ibadan, the Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, told journalists that in line with NEC position, all the states should be in charge of their forests.

They also agreed that stronger measures must be taken to tighten security around border areas to stop the incursion of foreign herdsmen.

The meeting also deliberated on the need for government to support cattle breeding and other agricultural production, and resolved that government must help with enablers to discourage open grazing across the country.

“We believe that all the states should be in a position to manage their forests,” Akeredolu said. “And that will give enough room to determine who and who are there, what purpose are they serving, and where you have people there illegally, the state should be able to take some steps, so that we can preserve our forests.”

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The meeting had been scheduled at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

But Prof Gambari was absent, as he could not fly out of Abuja due to bad weather.

Also, absent for the same reason were the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi.

The meeting had in attendance five governors including the host, Governor Makinde; Governors Akeredolu of Ondo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State.

The meeting equally had in attendance the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of South-West, David Folawiyo, and security chiefs serving in Oyo State.

Others included the chairmen of Council of Traditional Rulers in each of the South-West states and some first-class monarchs.

According to Akeredolu, the meeting was held to find lasting solutions to the lingering security issues in the zone.

Some of the traditional rulers who took part in the meeting include the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III; Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi; Akarigbo of Remo, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan; Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunnjso 1; and Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao.

Also in attendance were the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, and other heads of security agencies in Oyo State.