By Osagie Otabor, Akure
HERDERS and farmers operating in forest reserves in nine local government areas of Ondo State have registered with the state government.
The total number of herders that have registered could not be ascertained, but 32,881 farmers cultivating 57,758 hectares of land in 14 forest reserves have registered.
Chairman, Ondo State Internal Revenue Service (ODIRS) Mr. Tolu Adegbie, who stated this in Akure at a sensitisation of farmers on the need to pay ground rent for operating at the forest reserves.
Adegbie explained that the registration was to ensure security of lives at the forest reserves and know the people in there.
The ODIRS boss said the forest reserves were located in Akure-Ofosu, Akure-Ofosu Extension, Akure, Ala, Idanre, Ifon (Ose River Park), Ipele, Idoani, Irele, Okeluse, Oluwa, Onisere, Otu, Owo and Oyinmo.
He said the state government was aware of the people operating in the forest reserves even as he acknowledged that criminal elements at the reserves might not have registered.
Adegbie also warned the farmers not to cultivate fresh plots inside the forest, but to continue using the areas already mapped out.
According to him, “We have captured 95 per cent of all the farmers in nine local government areas. The assessment has been done and we know those in our forest.
“We have also introduced the people that will help us serve the assessment notices to the farmers and they have agreed. All money goes into government account.”
“A greater number of people who are in our forest reserves are not from Ondo State but we have captured them. Some may not have come out like the criminals.”