The farmers in Ondo State have thrown their weight behind the order made by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, asking the herdsmen to vacate all the forest reserves in the state, saying the order would save the state from imminent famine.
The farmers, under the auspices of the Ondo State Agricultural Commodities’ Association also urged the governor to sponsor a grazing bill at the state House of Assembly in order to tackle the security challenges in the state and also end the incessant clashes between the farmers and the herdsmen.
The chairman of the association, Mr Gbenga Obaweya, who spoke on the development in Akure, the state capital, on Wednesday, said there was a need for the governor to back the order up with legislation.
He said, “The farmers in Ondo State express our unflinching support to the order the governor gave, telling the herdsmen to vacate all forest reserved areas in the state, banning night grazing and movement of cattle in cities and highways in the state.
“This order has brought lots of hope to farmers in the state because of the activities of these criminal elements who have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for carrying out unlawful activities, while farmers can no longer be said to be safe to do their legitimate business.
” We strongly believe that such important order should be backed up with relevant legislation as a matter of urgency. The grazing bill before the House of Assembly should therefore be given an accelerated passage.”
The OSACA, which is the umbrella body for all agricultural value chain and farmers’ group in Ondo State noted that the social and economic impact of the nefarious activities of the herdsmen, if not quickly checked could lead to severe famine in the state, lamenting that farmers were leaving their farmlands in droves for fear of being attacked, raped or kidnapped as these have become a recurring issue.