Why it is wrong for herdsmen to occupy forest reserves

Why it is wrong for herdsmen to occupy forest reserves

Saturday, January 23, 2021 1:26 am


 

File: Herdsmen and their cows

 

By Bayo Onanuga

Nigerians are hugely sentimental, never facing issues but chasing shadows. And we have shown it again in the responses from Aso Rock and other herd of responses to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate Ondo Forest Reserves.

To begin with, the Forest reserve is not meant for human habitation. It is meant to preserve trees, figs, shrubs, wild animals, insects and generally the eco-system.

So it is wrong for herdsmen from wherever to occupy the forests with their cows.

Their occupation will surely destroy the eco-system that the reserve is meant to preserve. Can herdsmen go and occupy Yankari Games Reserve?

Ondo state is part of the Rain Forest/ Mangrove Region of the world and herdsmen, by grazing their animals there will sooner turn the forests into the Guinea Savanna or even the Sahel. And this will ultimately destroy irreversibly, the eco-system and the climate.

The second issue is that Governor Akeredolu as the governor of Ondo state has the right to make laws about the forests in his state. This is not the business of Aso Rock or any of these ethnic champions.

Herdsmen must realise that sooner or later, they will need to toe the civilised path by ranching their animals, as had been done by herders in many parts of the world. Studies upon studies have shown that this is good for the animals and profitable to the owners.

Sooner the herdsmen will also realise that their peripatetic life in search of pastures and water for their animals, ravaging forests and farmlands does not make any sense in this 21st century, with all humanity endangered by climate change.

-Mr. Bayo Onanuga is the Managing Director, Editor-in-Chief of TheNEWS and PMNEWS

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