ANTI-OPEN GRAZING LAW: Ondo Amotekun nabs 9 herders, 100 cattle

NINE herders, with over 100 cattle, were arrested, weekend, by operatives of the Ondo State Security outfit, codenamed Amotekun, for violating the state government’s open grazing law. The herders and their cattle were arrested along the Akure/Ilesa road in the state.

Similarly, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, yesterday, warned illegal occupants of the state forest reserves, saying he owed no one any apology on his quit order to criminally minded herders. This came on a day scores of youths from different parts of Oyo State, yesterday, staged a protest at the state Secretariat, Agodi, in Ibadan, over arraignment and detention of three members of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, who arrested the accused notorious kidnap kingpin, Mr. Iskilu Wakili.

Ondo Amotekun nabs 9 herders, 100 cattle Speaking with newsmen, the State Commander of Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said the cows were intercepted and arrested at the boundary of Osun and Ondo States. The state government has banned open grazing across the state. Adeleye said: “Our men controlled the cows to the headquarters of our office, which was about 30 kilometres from the point they were intercepted. “I don’t want to narrow it on the issue of capturing cattle. I would want to say it is a way of reducing crime. The cows were blocking the major road leading to the state capital. “Apart from the possibility of illegal grazing in most cases, it is the ploy that kidnappers use.

“One of the occupants in the vehicle that was blocked called our distress line; and within few minutes, our men were on the ground. “We should take note that our men are in all the 18 local government areas and we are on 24 hours patrol and we arrived at the scene promptly. “The culprits, who sited us on arrival, ran away as they controlled the cows to follow them, but we were only able to control them. We owe no apology to nobody—Akeredolu Speaking against the backdrop of the anti-open grazing law, Governor Akeredolu said his administration will not be afraid to take decisions considered beneficial to the people of the state, vowing not to take orders from any quarters.

The governor spoke at the swearing-in of the first female Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Princess Oladunni Odu and four Special Advisers in Akure. His words: “We will continue to eject and punish, under the law, anyone, either herder or farmer, illegally occupying our forest reserves. “We will not relent on our decision to rid our state of undesirable elements. We owe no one any further explanation or apology on this resolution to ensure peace for no one other than our people. “Anyone, who intends to engage in a private business of animal husbandry, in this age, must be ready to abide with the modern methods or quit. “We, therefore, reiterate our stance on the prohibition of open grazing by cattle rearers in any part of Ondo State. On this, there shall be no compromise. In a similar vein, we will continue to arrest any under-age herders in the state.

“The Government will prosecute the mindless handlers of these unfortunate kids. “We will insist on punishing any errant herdsman and exact compensation commensurate to the level of destruction of farms and businesses in any part of the State. “Anyone who commits a crime under the guise of outmoded pastoralism shall be sanctioned severely. “We will proceed to mobilize the people against this menace. The people of Ondo State will not accept any aberrant incursion into our space. “This administration, under our leadership, will not shirk its responsibilities in any manner. We will not mortgage the future of the coming generations for political expediency. “We do not want to be seen as politically correct when our people are dying and/or losing their legitimate means of livelihood. We shall not embrace the counsel of the treacherous and wicked.

“The welfare of the people shall remain the primary focus of governance. No one will be allowed to trample on the rights of our people. The people of Ondo State shall not become underlings in their own space. “We will also not be afraid to take decisions considered beneficial to our people. We shall be encouraging all those interested in animal husbandry to embrace new methods. Indigenes of this state who wish to take to that aspect of agriculture shall enjoy the support of the government. “Non-indigenes with verifiable identities shall be allowed to bring in cattle to designated ranches and feed lots.

“They shall be permitted to graze on the ranches for a fee. We will not cede the land of our ancestors to any person under any guise. “All legitimate endeavours shall be supported by the government for as long as they are of direct benefit to the people of Ondo State. Ondo won’t secede  “I must not fail to comment on the current agitations by some people who express grievances arising from the challenges of nationhood. “The noises generated by seeming inaction or passive indifference on the part of elected and appointed representatives of the government, at all levels, appears to be responsible for the growing disaffection in the land. “While some have been measured in their reactions to these problems, others have been less diplomatic. It is not uncommon to find groups and individuals purporting to act or speak on behalf of the rest of us.   “While it is the right of citizens to discuss, agitate and even fight to right perceived wrongs, culminating in self-determination, this must be done within known and acceptable parameters.

“All concerned must agree to pursue the same objectives to achieve a desirable or desired end. There must be a common platform through which the demands, from the most mundane to the sublime, must be presented. “There must be a consensus, articulated and presented after rigorous engagements on the level of intellection as the agendum for action. “The reasons for the declaration of hostilities must not be fleeting fancies of disaffection engendered by perceived politics of exclusion for personal benefits. Self-determination must be a collective programme of action.

“I state, unequivocally, as the Governor of Ondo State, elected by the people to serve them and protect their interests that our people have elected to stay in the Federal Republic of Nigeria as constituted at present. “We recognise that there are reasons to demand that certain anomalies be put right. We will continue to encourage dialogue as an effective tool in resolving disputes. “We will also not shy from joining others to insist on socio-economic justice. We will, however, not subscribe to banditry and recklessness in putting forth our demands. “We will not be led to assured annihilation by anyone or a group of people, still smarting from the electoral defeats of recent times and presumed exclusion from the process of decision-making. “Our people are knowledgeable enough to determine their interest at any point. If and when they consider self-determination as an option, they will not depend on external promptings to act.

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