Nigeria: Despite Anti-Grazing Law, Ondo Communities Allege Invasion By Cattle Herders

The new attacks are despite the existence of a law, signed last year by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, banning open grazing of cattle in Ondo State.

Residents of Ijagba, Imoru, Arimogija in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State say cattle herders have resumed attacks on their communities.

The residents said herders have been grazing farms and threatening farmers in the last two weeks, and called on the state government to intervene.

This is coming despite the existence of a law, signed last year by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, banning open grazing of cattle in Ondo State.

The state government had also ordered herders out of forest reserves that criminals among them were reported to be using as hideouts.

The law also designated areas for grazing, and defines penalties for offenders.

Although there appeared to be compliance when the law came into effect, recent reports indicate some herders have returned to their old ways.

Residents of Imoru accused herders of kidnapping for ransom, which they said has scared farmers away from their farms.

“They kidnapped a young girl hours after they released a man after collecting ransom which was negotiated from N10 million to one million naira,” a resident, who out of fear refused to give his name, said.

“This is affecting our means of livelihood which is farming and people are leaving the community for safer places,” the resident said.

When contacted, the police spokesperson in the state, Funmilayo Omisanya, said the attention of the police had not been called to the incidents.

She said officers would be deployed to the communities to investigate the situation

The traditional ruler of Imoru, Rotimi Obamuwagun, said criminal herders were infiltrating his community through a forest reserve between Ondo and Edo states.

He, however, noted government’s efforts at repelling the bandits.

“It is true, the criminals are entering our communities,” the monarch said.

“If not for the state government intervening in the matter, they would have sacked all the communities here and sent everyone away from their homes.

“But we thank the government for intervening.”

The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Security Matters, Jimoh Dojumo, said those attacking the communities and villages were coming from neighbouring Edo State.

He said the state government had already taken action against them.

He said the criminals usually entered the state through footpaths into the communities and villages.

“They (herders) have been creating problems for us but our territory is secured with the presence of Amotekun men. I can assure you that the activities of these criminals will soon be checked,” Mr Dojumo said.

“We are not relenting in our efforts to flush out criminal elements from the state to ensure security of lives and property of our people,” the governor’s aide said


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