•Insists open grazing can’t work in 21st Century
By Omeiza Ajayi
CHAIRMAN of the Southern Governors Forum, SGF and governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday, decried the violation of the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari to the effect that anyone seen wielding AK47 be shot, saying the order that been observed more in the breach.
The governor spoke on Monday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja with the theme: Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.
His words: “Grazing routes? Grazing routes to where? It is not going to work. There are things we had in the Past. Don’t let us imagine it now. Time changes. Grazing with AK 47 is an assault. Ban on open grazing, we are doing it effective in Ondo State.
“Nomadic pastoralist is not a new thing. There were nomadic farmers all over the world. I know of people, high ranking who have ranches today. They can showcase their cows.
“Why are we pushing these people out? It is a culture that must be discouraged in the interest of those who are involved. Even with the President order that anyone with AK47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?”.
He also warned against using semantics to romanticize terrorism, noting that the various criminal activities of kidnapping, bombing and assault on the people in some parts of the country which are being referred to as banditry must be appropriately addressed as terrorism.
Governor Akeredolu and his Kaduna state counterpart, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, and others were among the panelists at the summit which centered on addressing the security challenges in the country.
Akeredolu said: “In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnap for ransom. We have drug abuse and agitation for self determination. We have always preached the multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security.”
The Governor, who explained that although there are criminal trespasses which can be treated by the state, stressed that before the Amotekun corps was established, the Police were not always ready to make arrest.
“Yes, you have criminal trespass. It should be treated by the state. All we had before Amotekun was a police that had the duty to arrest and was not prepared to make an arrest. Things are changing and have really changed in Ondo state.
“Today, if you trespass on other people’s land, the Amotekun will go after you and arrest you. They pay compensations to the farmers and when they fail they are in court. It is the only way you can send signals to the people.
“When you commit a crime and the hands of law doesn’t catch up with you, another person will repeat it. I can assure you that when you do not have an effective policing system, there is little or nothing a Governor can do. And the criminal trial is taking too long,” Akeredolu said.
Ban on open grazing
On the recent ban on open grazing, Governor Akeredolu said: ”Speaking for those of us who have put in place anti-open grazing law. We have our reasons and we have no apologies.”