Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has ordered all herdsmen to leave Ondo forest reserves within seven days. The governor has also banned night grazing. The two directives the governor said are aimed towards addressing the root of kidnapping and other nefarious activities in the state.
In a statement issued on his official Twitter handle, the governor regretted that the forest reserves have become hiding places for felons.
The governor said “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.”
Affirming that the decision on herdsmen to leave Ondo forest reserves was taken as part of his responsibility as the Chief Law and Security Officer of the state, the governor said:
“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.”
The governor’s order to herdsmen to leave Ondo forest reserves follows the spate of criminal activities perpetuated by some individuals who go about as herdsmen but use it as a cover for criminal activities.