Over 9,000 “illegal herders” chased out of Ondo —Amotekun

The Amotekun Corps in Ondo has said over 9,000 herders who illegally found their way into the state through the border towns have been chased back.

Adetunji Adeleye, the Commander of the Amotekun Corps, who spoke on Wednesday, in Akure, added that the herders always entered Ondo through the border towns in the dead of the night.

He particularly expressed worry at the sudden influx of the herders whom he said “always masquerades in different forms” to enter the state.

“The reality is that in the last month, we have a very heavy annoying unusual influx of herdsmen to the state. We have to drive them back to where they came from.

“As of yesterday, we are confronted with over 9,000 herders against the laws of the land. They moved them in the midnight and they masquerade as different forms of criminals,” Mr Adeleye told reporters while parading over 31 suspects arrested for different criminal cases in Ondo.

He mentioned that the herders always came into Ondo through the border communities in Edo, Kogi and now Ekiti States with large numbers of cattle to perpetrate crimes.

The Amotekun Corps boss said his agency has noticed that the herders always come to Ondo through trucks with loads and would refuse security patrol to search them.

He, however, noted that only herdsmen who registered with the state government would be allowed in the state, warning the illegal ones to steer clear.

“So, the trend has been on for a long time, especially in the last one month but we’re now working on different modalities of ensuring that herders that are legitimate to be in the state are there.

“And the ones who are criminals and are not supposed to be in the state are driven out of our forest. Also, we are making efforts towards the border towns of state because we notice that those that find their way now to Ondo is through Ekiti state,” Mr Adeleye said.

Peoples Gazette recall that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu had in August 2021 signed the Anti-Open Grazing Bill passed by the Ondo State House of Assembly into law.

The State House of Assembly had in July 2021 passed the bill to ban open grazing in the state following months of repeated clashes between residents and nomadic Fulani herders in the state.

The legislation criminalises open grazing of livestock and established a framework for the construction of ranches in the state.

Speaking on the suspects nabbed by the local security outfit, Mr Adeleye said 31 suspects were apprehended for crimes ranging from kidnapping, rape, burglary, rituals, stealing, arson and illegal possession of firearms among several others.

He noted that many of the suspects were arrested mostly during the Easter holidays in various locations of Ondo, stressing that they would be charged to court for prosecution.

The Gazette reports that among the suspects paraded by the Amotekun Corps was a syndicate that specialises in stealing goats in large numbers and selling same to unsuspected buyers.

Meanwhile, the Ondo Amotekun Commander has revealed two out of the three residents kidnapped along the police college on Iju road in Akure have been rescued while the remaining one would soon be freed.

He also revealed that the victims were rescued by the joint operation of the local security outfit, the police and the Army at a forest between Iju town and Ita Ogbolu.

Mr Adeleye said the criminals who had already been chased out of the forests were among those wandering the thick forests between Ekiti and Ondo stated at midnight night.

He, however, assured the people of the state of security of life and property and advised them to always report suspected movement intheir environs to the security agencies.

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