…Miyetti Allah pleads, to meet on next step
…Akeredolu acted responsibly —Afenifere
…Most okada riders spy for bandits, foreign kidnappers —Oyo Amotekun commandant
…Gunmen abduct travellers in Osun — PG.7
By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon & Deola Badru
THE Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, yesterday, pleaded for more time, as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu issued an executive order to herdsmen in Ondo State to vacate the forest reserves in seven days.
But the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, on its part, lauded Akeredolu’s action, saying no responsible governor should tolerate what the herdsmen are doing.
This came on a day the Chairman, Western States Security Network, codenamed: Amotekun in Oyo State, Gen. Kunle Togun (retd), raised the alarm that most commercial motorcyclists in the state were spies for kidnappers and bandits, who infiltrated the South West through the porous borders of the country.
Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu issued an executive order to herdsmen in all the state forest reserves, yesterday, to vacate within seven days.
Apparently worried by the spate of killings and other criminal activities, Akeredolu declared that “All Forest Reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from Monday 18th January 2021.”
The governor said this at an interactive meeting with the leadership of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in Akure.
The meeting was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bolaji Salami and the state Commandant of Amotekun Corps, Mr. Tunji Adeleye.
Akeredolu, who expressed anger over the activities of the criminal elements in the state, said his administration will not fold its arms and allow a few individuals to turn the state into a haven of dare-devil criminals.
He said: “The security reports and debriefings from victims of kidnap cases pointed in one direction traceable to some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.
“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. This meeting, therefore, is convened to address the issues of insecurity with the ultimate aim of attaining the goal of a safe environment.
“Recent security trends attest that these times require all hands to be on deck as the difficulties we face are dire. The challenges are quite enormous but we are determined to confront them head-on.
“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.
“I wish to reassure the residents that the State Security Council, under my leadership, shall not relent in tackling these challenges pragmatically. We shall remove all threats in no distant future.
“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 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.
“While we were still grieving, other kidnap attempts were made on the lives of road users across the state, especially along our boundaries and hinterland.”
He, however, banned night-grazing and movement of cattle within cities and highways in the state, while also outlawing under-aged grazing of cattle.
He said: “Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited. Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed.
“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.
“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.
“On the issue of farm destruction, Amotekun Corps has been matching action with words within the limits of its enabling law to reduce the growing incidence of farm destruction.
“The agency has been ensuring fair compensation to victims of reckless cattle-grazing activities across the state.
“This meeting becomes necessary to advance the cause of peace and harmonious relationship among farmers and herdsmen in the state with the ultimate aim of saving more businesses and in the long run, ensuring food security and safety of lives.
“As accommodating as our people and this government are, I wish to emphasise the fact that in line with the mandate of our administration, particularly at the national level, we shall do all that is necessary to stamp out insecurity in our domain.”
We want to meet with our people first—Miyetti Allah
When contacted, chairman of MACBAN in Ondo State, Alhaji Bello Garuba, said they would want to meet with their members before coming up with their response to the governor’s ultimatum
Garuba said: “The association will meet on the directives of the governor and come out with a position.”
But speaking during a meeting with the governor, Alhaji Garuba lauded the governor for inviting them to the meeting.
While he described Akeredolu’s administration as friendly, he said the association was ready to reciprocate the state government’s good gesture.
Another speaker also reiterated that they would go back to meet with their people.
Akeredolu acted responsibly —Afenifere
Reacting to the governor’s ultimatum, Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “Governor Akeredolu has spoken and acted responsibly, as no responsible governor should tolerate what the herdsmen are doing. There is the urgent need, at this point, for national leadership to rein in the herdsmen so they don’t bring the country down and we are unable to save the polity.”
Most okada riders spying for bandits, foreign kidnappers —Oyo Amotekun commandant
Meanwhile, Gen. Togun (retd) disclosed that the foreigners, who were ferried inside trailers into Oyo State during the COVID-19 lockdown, could not speak any Nigerian language, but French whenever accosted by his men.
Togun, who was responding to questions from newsmen in his office at the state Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, said the greedy nature of some traditional and community leaders in many Yoruba towns led to a high rate of insecurity, which he said, Amotekun has been curbing.
His words: “Before Amotekun was established, the problem of Yorubaland since the invasion of the land by these herdsmen has been our traditional chiefs and leaders in Yorubaland, they take money, cows and cars from these people, and allow them to settle and wreak havoc in their domains.
“I have attended meetings of monarchs in Oke-Ogun and I told them to stop giving lands to foreigners, these herdsmen are called Bororos in Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas, they are not Nigerians, what is happening should not be analysed in the area of religion, it is territorial expansion.”
“Their leaders argue about the ECOWAS Free Movement law, but the one I am aware of is that anybody from ECOWAS country can go into another ECOWAS country without a visa but you cannot stay there for more than 90 days at a stretch. Some of these people have been occupying our land for years and they are not Nigerians.
“Most of them that were dumped here by trailers during the COVID-19 lockdown have turned to Okada riders, many are carrying wheelbarrows all over the place, selling carrots, orange and the rest, the Okada riders are their spies, we have noted that and we are sfworking on government policy that will curtail the use of these people to foment crisis in Oyo State and Yorubaland as a whole.”