Following unrelenting and unrepentant wave of kidnapping and banditry in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, on Monday gave a marching order to Fulani herdsmen to vacate forest reserves in the state within seven days.
The order became imperative as kidnappings and banditry have reached an embarrassing height in the state with the kidnap of the governor’s Chief of Staff’s wife, Mrs Olugbenga-Ale in December 2020, killing of a first class monarch in Iron near Owo, Akeredolu’s town.
Persecondnews recalls that the herders have seized the Akure-Owo highway as kidnapping with millions of ransom paid in spite of the presence of Amotekun security outfit.
Akeredolu said the forests have been turned into a place for felons to carry out their criminal activities.
“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,” the governor said in a statement issued on his official Twitter handle.
As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the state, he said it was his constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the state.
Akeredolu ordered: “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.”