…As Gen. Togun revealed foreigners’ invasion of Oyo State
…Miyettei Allah pleads for more time
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba’s socio-political organisation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, has commended Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State for the 7-day ultimatum given herdsmen to move out of the forest reserves of the state yesterday.
He 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.”
Governor Akeredolu, who is Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, issued an executive order to herdsmen in all the state forest reserves, yesterday, to vacate within seven days.
“All Forest Reserves in the state are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next seven days with effect from Monday 18th January 2021,” he declared at a meeting with the leadership of the Hausa/Fulani and Ebira communities in Akure.
Also at the meeting were the state’s Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bolaji Salami and the state Commandant of Amotekun Corps, Mr. Tunji Adeleye.
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.”
The previous day, the Commandant of Amotekun in Oyo State, General Kunle Togun, had accused motorcyclists, popularly called okada riders of spying for bandits and foreign kidnappers in the state.
He said 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.
He blamed traditional chiefs for allowing the foreigners to settle in their midst without let or hinderance.
“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,” he said.
“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 working on government policy that will curtail the use of these people to foment crisis in Oyo State and Yorubaland as a whole.”
However, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has appealed to governor Akeredolu to give their members more time to come up with their response to the governor’s ultimatum even as it lauded the Akeredolu administration’s friendly gestures