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Akeredolu orders herdsmen out of forest reserves in Ondo to combat crime

Akeredolu has also outlawed underage grazing, and prohibited the movement of cattle within cities and highways. Ondo governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has ordered herdsmen out of the state’s forest reserves over security concerns.

Akeredolu said in a statement on Monday, January 18, 2021 that the decision is one of numerous major steps to address the root cause of kidnapping and other crimes in Ondo.

He said numerous accounts from kidnap victims have indicated that most kidnappers masquerade as herdsmen and use the forest reserves as hideouts for their operations.

“As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the State, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the State,” Akeredolu said.

In addition to the eviction notice, effective in seven days starting from Monday, the governor also banned night grazing, effective immediately, noting that it usually leads to destruction of farmlands.

He also outlawed underage grazing, and prohibited the movement of cattle within cities and highways.

“Our resolution to guarantee safety of lives and property within the state shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban,” the governor said.

Monday’s restrictions on grazing in Ondo will reopen long-standing debates about open grazing in the country.

A few other states have placed a similar ban on open grazing as a measure to reduce conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and local farmers whose crops are usually destroyed by cattle.

The conflicts have led to hundreds of lives lost and property destroyed, especially in the nation’s Middle Belt, with herdsmen usually blamed as the aggressors.

The Federal Government’s attempted interventions into the contentious issue have failed to provide a lasting solution, but cases of bloodshed have reduced over the past year.

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