Committee recommends establishment of commission to protect forest reserves in Gombe
The Committee on Grazing, Forest, Game Reserves and Cattle Routes in Gombe State has recommended the establishment of a commission to protect and ensure proper management of grazing and forest reserves in the state.
The chairman of the 25-man committee, AIG Zubairu Mu’azu (retired), made public the recommendations while submitting the panel’s report to Gov. Inuwa Yahaya on Friday in Gombe.
Mu’azu said the commission, which should be tagged: “Gombe State’s Reserve Protection and Management Commission”, should be saddled with the responsibility of protecting, coordinating and management of the gazetted reserves in the state.
He said the recommendation was as a result of the “poor and reckless” management of reserves in the state as observed by his committee.
The chairman further recommended that each reserve should have a committee with representations from local councils, traditional institutions, cattle breeders’ association, farmers association, ministry of agriculture and environment and forest resources and other relevant bodies.
“Unfortunately, some of the gazetted reserves were encroached upon by all levels of government; the state government, local government and the traditional institution.
“As a result of this, some of the encroachers have obtained certificates of occupancy to legalise their illegality in those locations.
“A total of 1,599 persons confirmed to have encroached on the six gazetted grazing reserves, 3,629 persons encroached on cattle routes while 911 persons encroached on gazetted forest reserves,” he said.
On the number of reserves in the state, Mu’azu said the committee’s findings revealed that the state had six gazetted grazing reserves, 32 forest reserves with no game reserve.
According to him, the state also has 37 cattle routes consisting of 10 international cattle routes, nine state cattle routes and 18 local cattle routes.
He said that all were found to have been encroached upon by various communities across the state.
While receiving the report, Yahaya commended the committee for carrying out a thorough job in efforts to address farmer-herder clashes in the state.
The governor said the recommendations made by the committee would be implemented to right the wrongs and initiate critical reforms that would help improve the livestock sector as well as protect forests reserves.
He said he would ensure that the necessary reforms to protect forest resources and ensure proper management of the resources were done to preserve the environment.
“This government will study the report you have submitted and constitute white paper committees to review it as soon as possible and implementation will follow no matter whose ox is gored.
“I will implement it to the best of my ability, subject to the resources available and the rest I will leave to God,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committee was inaugurated by Yahaya on July 28, 2023 to assess grazing, forest and game reserves as well as cattle routes in the state.