Akeredolu gives herdsmen seven days to vacate forest reserves

• Bans night grazing, warns kidnappers, other criminal elements

Worried by the spate of insecurity in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has issued a seven-day ultimatum to herdsmen in all forest reserves in the state to vacate the area with effect from Monday, January 18, 2021.

Akeredolu who issued the ultimatum said the development became necessary due to the resurgence of banditry and other security challenges facing the state.

He also placed a ban on night-grazing and movement of cattle within cities and highways in the state.

Arising from a closed-door security meeting with the leadership of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in the state held at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s office, Alagabaka, Akure on Monday, Akeredolu said underaged grazing of cattle has been outlawed in the state.

He said: “In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.

“Our resolution to guarantee the safety of lives and property within the state shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban.”

He said his administration will not fold its arms and allow a few individuals turn the state into a haven of dare-devil criminals, noting that security reports and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases pointed in one direction traceable to some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.

Akeredolu decried the activities of the criminal elements, adding that they have turned forest reserves in the state and across the South-West into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.

“As the Chief law and security officer of the state, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the state.

“This meeting, therefore, is convened to address the issues of insecurity with the ultimate aim of attaining the goal of a safe environment.

“Recent security trends attest that these times require all hands to be on the deck as the difficulties we face are dire. The challenges are quite enormous but we are determined to confront them head-on.

“We decided that all the criminal elements who hide under various guises to aid the destruction of farmlands as well as perpetrate other violent crimes such as kidnapping, drug peddling and other nefarious activities, must be stamped out of our dear state.

“I wish to reassure the residents that the State Security Council, under my leadership, shall not relent in tackling these challenges as pragmatically possible. We shall remove all threats in no distant future.

“We have cases of several attacks on our people by these mindless elements. You will recall the gruesome murder of one of the members of the Ondo State Traditional Council who was caught in the web of the devious plans of these workers of evil on his way back to his domain.

“While we were still grieving, other kidnap attempts were made on the lives of road users across the state, especially along our boundaries and hinterland.”

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