The increasing rate of lawlessness and banditry in Ondo State has drawn the ire of the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu who, on Monday issued a seven-day ultimatum for Fulani headers to vacate forest reserves in the state on face the full wrath of the law.
In addition to this, the governor also banned any form of night grazing with immediate effect.
The governor explained in a statement released on Monday that his administration decided to explore this route because of the spike in the state of insecurity in the state.
Akeredolu noted that bad elements have turned the forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom, and carrying out other criminal activities.
“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,” Akeredolu said.
“Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night. The 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.”
These new set of laws may not be unconnected to the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the state, who arbitrarily go into people’s farms to chase and destroy their crops such as maize, cassava, etc.
And rather than be remorseful, the herdsmen who are usually heavy-armed on seeing the owners of the affected farmlands, attempt to kill or injure them.
Only recently, the Chairman of the Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun in Oyo State, Gen. Kunle Togun, retd, raised the alarm that a large number of fully armed Fulani herders, who are non-Nigerians, have started trooping into states in the South West.
This development has elicited angry reactions from the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE; pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere; the Agbekoya Farmers’ Association, who have called on security agencies to address the alarming situation.