Babatope Okeowo and Adewale Momoh,
Worried by incessant kidnappings and killings along major roads in Ondo State by suspected Fulani herdsmen, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Monday gave a seven-day ultimatum to the herders to quit the state’s forests.
The governor, who met with Fulani, Hausa and Igbira ethnic people in his office, also banned night grazing in any part of the state with immediate effect.
There have been kidnappings and killings especially along Akure/Owo road, Owo/Akoko axis and lately Owo/Ilesa road.
But Akeredolu, in his speech at the meeting, said the many steps taken by his government to stem the rate of crime have not yielded any positive result.
He said: “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.
“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. “In the light of the foregoing, the following orders are hereby issued: “All Forest Reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven 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.”