The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, ordered the herdsmen in the state to evacuate all the forest reserves in the state in his bid to check the wave of insecurity in the state in current time.
Akeredolu, Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, passed the order in the course of an interactive meeting with the leadership of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in Akure, the state capital on Monday.
The governor also barred the herdsmen from moving their cattle along the highways and within the cities across the state, adding that security reports and debriefings from kidnap victims pointed in one direction traceable to some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.
He said, “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.
“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.”
Akeredolu, who said criminal elements had turned forest reserves in the state and across the South-West into hideouts for keeping kidnap victims, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities, gave seven days ultimatum to the herdsmen to leave all forest reserves in the state.
Reacting, the state chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Mallam Garuba Bello, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone, said, “We support what Governor Akeredolu has said; he did not say Fulani should leave the state but he wants to the criminals to leave the state.
“We need peace in the state and the governor’s order will bring peace. But it is not our members that are kidnapping; our members are very responsible. Anybody that kidnaps or does criminal activities should be dealt with.”