By Abimbola Akindunbi & Olusola Alatise
For flouting the recent ban on open grazing in South West region, about 200 cows were yesterday arrested by men of the Ondo State Joint Security Agency codenamed Amotekun in Oda town, Akure South Local Government Area of the state.
This came three months after 100 cows were intercepted and arrested at the boundary of Osun and Ondo States by men of the same agency, for breaching the anti-grazing orders of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu aimed at curbing farmers/herders clashes in the state.
The cows, The Hope Metro learnt were apprehended at a farm in Oda town after a tip-off from the affected farmers.
The victims, whose farmlands were badly destroyed reportedly put a distress call across to men of the Amotekun Corps, who swung into action.
It took the men of Amotekun hectic time before the cows could be marched from Oda town to the agency’s headquarters in Alagbaka.
Contacted, the Ondo State Commander of Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, said he was waiting for proper briefing from his men before he could talk on the issue.
It will be recalled that the Ondo State Government has declared that it will no longer allow negotiation for compensation for farm crops destroyed by cows as a result of illegal grazing on farms, saying that government would henceforth prosecute owners of seized cows and auction the animals after getting a court order.
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, had also reiterated that the state government was not ready to compromise the protection of the Ondo people and their lands amid farmer/herders clashes.
He also vowed to proscribe illegal occupants of the state forest reserves, stressing his readiness to participate in the National Livestock Transformation Programme.
“We will continue to eject and punish, in accordance with the law, anyone, either herder or farmer illegally occupying our forest reserves. We will not relent on our decision to rid our state of undesirable elements.
“We reiterate our stance on the prohibition of open grazing by cattle rearers in any part of Ondo State. There shall be no compromise. We will continue to arrest any under-aged herders in the state.
“The government will prosecute the mindless handlers of these unfortunate kids. We will insist on punishing any errant herdsman and exact compensation commensurate to the level of destruction of farms and businesses in any part of the state,” he stated.
Also, the State Chairman of Amotekun Corps, Chief Adetunji Adeleye had stated that henceforth, the cows arrested would be charge to court and auctioned, saying,” That is the position of the state government and the Amotekun Corps from now.”
Recently, 17 Governors from Southern Nigeria, at their forum had resolved to ban open grazing and movement of cattle by foot in the region over cases of kidnapping and killings that have been traced to criminal elements amongst herders.