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Akeredolu orders herders to quit forest, bans night grazing

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has ordered herders to vacate Reservation Forests within one week. He also banned night grazing.

These are part of the measures he introduced yesterday to curb armed banditry and kidnapping for ransom in the state.

There has been an upsurge of kidnapping in the state in recent weeks.

The governor said herders wishing to carry on with cattle-rearing business in the state must register with the appropriate authorities within seven days.

Akeredolu, who is also Chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum, warned criminal elements using the forest to perpetrate evil to henceforth expect fire for fire.

He spoke during an interactive parley with the leadership of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities, Akeredolu said he would not allow few individuals to turn the state into a haven of dare-devil criminals.

The governor said security reports and briefings by victims of kidnapping pointed to some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.

He said it was worrisome that the criminals have turned forest reserves across the Southwest into hideouts for keeping their victims, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.

Akeredolu, who ordered all herdsmen in forest reserves to vacate within the next seven days effective from yesterday, also banned night-grazing with immediate effect.

He prohibited the movement of cattle within cities and highways and outlawed under-aged grazing of cattle.

Akeredolu said: “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.”

The meeting was also attended by the Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami and the Commandant of the Amotekun Corps, Mr Tunji Adeleye.

Leaders of cattle-breeders from different parts of the state said they would go back to talk to their people.

They also demanded for a security outfit to help secure the forest.

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