Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has directed that herdsmen should vacate Ondo’s forest reserves.
The Ondo governor on Monday attributed kidnapping and other nefarious acts in his state to the activities of “some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.”
While saying the decision to ask them to leave was taken based on security documents, Akeredolu said the resolution was a decisive action that will restore peace and order in the state.
According to him, “Today we have taken major steps at addressing the root cause of kidnapping, in particular, and other nefarious activities detailed and documented in security reports, the press and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases in Ondo State.
“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.”
On his verified Twitter handle, he also banned night-grazing and movement of cattle within the cities and highways of Ondo.
In light of the foregoing, Governor Akeredolu highlighted the following orders:
*All forest reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January 2021.
*Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.
*Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited.
*Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed.
“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.
“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,” the governor said.
Governor Akeredolu’s directive has, however, been described as contradictory and unconstitutional by some Nigerians while others hail the order, while others supported the governor saying he has the right to ask questionable characters to leave.
But the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Ondo said what the governor posted on his Twitter handle was different from what they discussed during their meeting with him on Monday.
Its chairman, Alhaji Bello Garba, told one of our correspondents that they held a meeting with the governor during which he admonished them to work with security agencies in exposing criminals.
“We are not aware of any order from the governor directing our people to vacate Ondo forest reserves because during our face-to-face meeting with him yesterday, he did not say anything like that,” he said.
According to the Miyetti Allah leader, “The governor summoned a meeting with us, the Fulani leaders and those representing farmers to discuss security issues. He said farmers and herders live in the forests and that is where criminals live.
“He said we should expose criminals who are kidnapping people for ransom. The governor also asked us to ask our people to desist from night grazing or moving our cattle on the highway. This is all I know,” Alhaji Garba said.