Following the death of a farmer in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Tuesday, the state goverment has denied destroying farmlands in all the forest reserves in the state.
Niger Delta Connect gathered that there was confusion among farmers in Ore when the middle-aged man, Olafusi Akinseye suddenly slumped and later died following the marking of his farmland on government forest reserve for demolition.
Eyewitness also said Akinseye who resided in Odigbo Town had developed high blood pressure since government displaced farmers from the forest reserve some weeks ago, despite collecting N10,000 yearly due from the deceased as well as other farmers in the government reserve.
While speaking on the development, the Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture, Sunday Akintomide, denied the allegations.
In a statement, made available to newsmen by the ministry’s Press Officer, Bisi Lawani, Akintomide denied the rumour.
The permanent secretary called on all farmers working in the government forest reserves to come forward to register with the government to ensure proper documentation.
According to him, “As at today, about 400 farming camps have been identified and about 53,000 farmers have been registered by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the internal revenue service of the state.
He said the capturing has become imperative to enable the government coordinate the activities of encroachers and kidnappers in the forest reserves, as well as generate income for the government.
Akintomide, who explained that those farmers that registered had been issued identity cards to work in the government reserves, said anyone who does not have the identity card was working illegally in the government reserves.
The permanent secretary, therefore, informed farmers to only pay N10,000 per hectare and also desist from planting cash crops.
He assured farmers of government preparedness to give them economic trees for planting to enable them regenerate areas that have been depleted.