….approves 20 operational vehicles for Amotekun Corps
as Ikare-Akoko gets new Owa-Ale
By Adekola Afolabi
Baring last minute changes, the Ondo state government will any moment from now send Anti-Open Grazing Bill to the State House of Assembly for proper scrutiny and subsequent passage into law.
The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting held in Akure, the Ondo state capital, said the proposed bill was part of Governor Akeredolu’s determined efforts to stem the tide of rising insecurity and herders/farmers clashes across the state.
The Council particularly lauded the exploits of the Amotekun Corps in the fight against criminal elements, and called for more support from all and sundry in terms of intelligence gathering and information dissemination to rid the state of kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery, banditry, herders/farmers clashes and other form of criminal activities.
The Council also approved the procurement of 20 more operational vehicles for the use of Amotekun Corps, apart from the recruitment of additional 500 personnel to strengthen the Corps to step up their activities and performance for the safety of all.
To further reduce crimes and criminality, the government reinforced the earlier ban on the operation of motorcycle operators beyond 6pm, saying that enforcement would begin immediately and anybody caught would be brought to book.
Speaking on the details of the Anti-Open Grazing Bill, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye, explained that the bill would regulate rearing and grazing of livestock in any part of the state, while it would also provide for establishment of ranches and other matters related thereto.
According to him, the objective of the executive bill was to prevent further destruction of farm crops, property as well as communities, just as it would also prevent herders/farmers clashes.
Titiloye added that the objective was also regulate and support the growth of livestock farming and manage the environmental impacts of open livestock grazing as well as prevent, control and manage the spread of diseases and ease implementation of policy that would enhance production of livestock both for local and export markets.
“The law is to promote modern techniques of animal husbandry, particularly rearing of livestock. By coming on board of this law, the government intends to checkmate criminal activities of those hiding under legitimate business of herders in Ondo state to engage in nefarious activities including kidnapping.
“Part of the law is to make it an offence for anybody involves in this business to carry gun or any weapon either in the forest reserves or anywhere. It will be tantamount to armed robbery and it is punishable under this law”, he stressed.
The Attorney General further revealed that government would also designate certain areas for open grazing and ranching, adding that government is putting in place a balanced system of rearing animals to ensure security of lives and property of all the residents.
He added that government would create its own ranches and also grant applications from private individuals to set up ranches, just as two separate committees would be set up at the state and local government levels compromising security agencies
Titiloye noted any offender would be tried by the law court, and if found culpable would be sentenced to imprisonment or option of fine, saying rearing of livestock would not be a loose business any longer.
He explained that the name of registered ranche(s) would also be imprinted on their cows for easy identification anywhere across the state, while manual movement of cows would no longer be allowed but with the use of vehicles.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Deaconess Lola Fagbemi, said the State Executive Council also approved the appointment of Prince Adeleke Adesegun Adedoyin from the only Owa-Ale Ruling House as the new Owa-Ale of Ikare Akoko in Akoko North East Local Government Area.
On his part, the state Acting Commissioner for Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, said the state government has been making a lot of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state, noting so far the state has a total of 2, 573 cases with 55 deaths.
He said government would be meeting with religious leaders and other stakeholders including schools managers to sensitise them on the pandemic, saying that government would not hesitate to close down any organization including that of government which fails to comply with the protocols for COVID-19 prevention.
He also lauded the government for its determined efforts to stamp out Lassa fever in the state.