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Akeredolu orders herders out of Ondo forest reserves

…bans movement of cattle within cities, highways

Following the spate of insecurity across Ondo State, particularly kidnapping and banditry, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has issued a seven-day ultimatum to herdsmen to vacate forest reserves across the state. Akeredolu, who fumed at the audacious and nefarious activities of criminals in the state, yesterday, stated that his administration will not fold its arms and allow a few individuals turn the state into a haven of dare-devil criminals.

Speaking during an interactive meeting with the leadership of Hausa/ Fulani and Ebira communities in the state, the governor said that security reports and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases pointed in one direction traceable to some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen. The governor 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.

The meeting was also attended by the Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami and the state commandant of the Amotekun Corps, Tunji Adeleye. While ordering that all forest reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from Monday, 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.

“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 residents that the State Security Council, under my leadership, shall not relent in tackling these challenges as pragmatically as 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.” Akeredolu further placed a ban on night grazing and movement of cattle within cities and highways in the state, while also outlawing under-aged grazing of cattle.

“In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattlerearing 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.”

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