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As part of the efforts to tackle the spate of insecurity in Ondo State, the state government has commenced the registration of farmers who were farming in the forest reserves across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, had earlier given orders that all herdmen who were occupying the forest reserves illegally should register with the state government or vacate the reserves. Similarly, it was gathered that the farmers were also ordered to register with the government to get permission to farm in the forests.
The state Chairman of the Ondo State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Tolu Adegbie, who spoke at a meeting with farmers and other stakeholders, in Akure, the state capital disclosed that a total of 32,881 farmers had so far registered with the government.
The stakeholders’ meeting was organised by the ODIRS in conjunction with the state Ministry of Agriculture.
Adegbie explained that the registration was part of the government’s efforts to
to check criminal activities and secure lives of the people in the forest reserves.
According to him, in the record of the ODIRS, there are 14 forest reserves in the state with 483 camps and 57,758 hectares of cultivated land in the reserves. He noted that each of the farmers would pay a sum of N10,000 per hectare as rent annually, while the service of a consulting firm – ODK Consult had been employed to serve the farmers on the forest reserves, the assessment letters while the farmers would thereafter pay into the bank account of government , based on the assessment of their land.
He said, “You will recall that Governor Akeredolu has ordered that everybody operating in the forest reserves of Ondo State should go and registered when the issue of insecurity in Ondo State became so bad because we don’t know the legal and illegal occupants of the forests. The registration exercise has been going on for a while but not properly done .
“The ODIRS now came in and we have been able to capture about 95 percent of the farmers and we have a total of 32,881 farmers in the forest reserves. The government now charged the farmers token as rent based on the number of hectares they are cultivating. But the farmers were there illegally ab initio.”