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Anti-open grazing: Herdsmen attack Amotekun officers in Akure

By Tola Gbadamosi

Some herdsmen have launched a deadly attack on personnel of the South West Security Network Agency, codenamed Amotekun Corps, in Ondo State while enforcing the state’s anti-open grazing law to protect a tomato farm overrun by herds of cows.

The incident occurred in the Sango area of Igoba, along Ado-Ekiti Road in Akure North Local Government Area of the state.

The Corps surveillance team from its headquarters visited the affected farm after receiving many complaints from farmers. They found over one hundred and twenty cows ravaging the farms without anyone attending to them.

While enforcing the anti-open grazing law of the state, the operatives of the Amotekun Corps moved the cows out of the farms. As they were passing by the Sango area of Igoba, along Ado Road in Akure, groups of armed herdsmen attacked the officers with stones, bottles, cutlasses, and guns.

These details were contained in a statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the Ondo State Amotekun Corps, Jimoh Adeniken, a copy of which was made available to The Hope.

The statement reads: “Upon constant complaints from many farmers in the Igoba and Osi areas of Akure North Local Government since May 6, 2024, the Amotekun Corps from the headquarters in Alagbaka, Akure, responded on July 5, 2024, at about 1600 hours.

“During the operation, the corps surveillance team was led to the farms by the owners. On getting there, they met over one hundred and twenty cows ravaging the farms, and there was nobody with the cows.

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“Determined to enforce the anti-open grazing law of the state, the operatives of the Amotekun Corps moved the cows out of the farms, and while passing by the Sango area of Igoba, along Ado Road in Akure, groups of armed Fulani herdsmen attacked the officers with stones, bottles, cutlasses, and guns,” it stated.

The statement continued: “Thereafter, the corps retreated based on the order from the state headquarters of the Amotekun Corps.

“Furthermore, the assailants continued to throw stones and bottles until they invaded the main road and hacked one of the Amotekun officers into a coma while attempting to disarm the officers and men of the Amotekun Corps.

“Sequentially, the officers of the Amotekun Corps shot into the air to dislodge them and moved back to the office.

“Unfortunately, other officers sustained varying degrees of injuries during the attack, and they are currently receiving medical attention at the hospital,” the statement explained.

It also revealed that the owner of the cows has been identified, and an investigation is ongoing by the corps.

It should be recalled that the government of Ondo State signed the Anti-Grazing Bill into law on August 31, 2021.

The decision, which is in line with the resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum, was aimed at stemming needless instances of skirmishes, conflicts, and infractions on the enviably peaceful disposition of the good people of Ondo State.

“Government will continue to pursue with vigor, through lawful means, to ensure strict compliance with the law with a view to ensuring that the efforts of farmers are not truncated through the destruction of their farmlands by herders and their cows.

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The statement assured that officers of the Corps will continue to carry out their legal functions of protecting the people of the state as well as their properties.

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