Ondo State Governor and Chairman of South-West Governors’ Forum, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has warned the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) against flouting the state’s anti-open grazing law.
Akeredolu insisted that his administration would not hesitate to decisively deal with any offender who flouts the anti-open grazing bill, which he recently signed into law.
He said that the law would be enforced vigorously.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure, yesterday, reiterated that “no bandit will operate in Ondo State under any dubious guise.”
The statement reads: “The Ondo State Government is in possession of a video clip of the press statement issued by a so-called association of cattle breeders, Miyetti Allah Kataul Hore, through its Secretary, Saleh Hassan.
“This uncouth, uncultured and evidently vagrant, left no one in doubt as regards the level of support certain criminal elements, like he, enjoys, deplorably.
“This man admits, without qualms, that members of his association have been frustrated to the point of taking to banditry and other forms of criminality to ‘fight poverty.’
“They claim to be above the law of any state in the federation. They warn of the imminent breach of peace and promotion of pervasive anarchy, if they are not allowed to ravage the sweat and toil of the long-suffering farmers who, apparently, don’t count for much in the scheme of things in their estimation.
“It is disingenuous and fraudulent for any band of stragglers and certified felons to paint a highly-resourceful people with the same indolent and retrogressive brush, a befitting epitaph for characters of Saleh Hassan’s felonious hue.
“No cultural practice permits criminality. Banditry, rape and armed robbery should not be attributes of a people. Personal businesses must not become the prime occupation of a government of a geo-political space with multiethnic groups.”
Odebowale stressed that Ondo State government would not yield to the caprices of the group and would deploy all government machineries at its disposal to protect her citizenry from any external forces that tend to destroy their land.
“We refuse to become slaves in our land. We defeated treachery and unbridled arrogance. We are not prepared to cede any part of our ancestral heritage to enjoy “peace and progress” offered by associations of bandits, robbers, kidnappers and rapists.
“Saleh and his sponsors should be content with the resources within his local environment if he is indeed indigenous to Nigeria. No part of our lands will be given to foreigners who cling to a dubious regional protocol as an instrument validating dispossession.
“Let him practise his cultural practices on his father’s land. His likes will not be permitted to operate with impunity in Ondo State. We will defend our land.
“Ondo State has a law, which prohibits open grazing. The government has a responsibility to implement the law for the benefit of the people of the state and those who may share in their aspiration for development of their God-given space.
“The people of Ondo are hospitable. They will, however, be unable to tolerate and condone invasion of their lands,” the statement added.