The Governor of Ondo State, and chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, SGF Rotimi Akeredolu, has said the President’s order that anyone seen with an AK47 should be shot had been violated.
He stated this Monday during the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja with the theme: Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.
Akeredolu noted that: “Grazing routes? Grazing routes to where? It is not going to work. There are things we had in the Past. Don’t let us imagine it now—time changes. Grazing with AK 47 is an assault. Ban on open grazing. We are doing it effectively in Ondo State.
“Nomadic pastoralist is not a new thing. There were nomadic farmers all over the world. I know of people, high ranking, who have ranches today. They can showcase their cows.
“Why are we pushing these people out? It is a culture that must be discouraged in the interest of those who are involved. Even with the President order that anyone with AK47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?”.
Recall that President Buhari, while directing a clampdown on bandits who have refused to surrender, had in March ordered security agencies to shoot whoever they see with sophisticated weapons like AK-47.
The Governor, who also spoke on the recent ban on open grazing, said:” Speaking for those of us who have put in place anti-open grazing law. We have our reasons, and we have no apologies.”
Speaking further, the Governor lamented that the security challenges which the nation is facing are not adequately addressed. He warned against using semantics to romanticise terrorism. He added that States should contribute their quota in tackling their challenges.
Akeredolu said: “In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnaps for ransom. We have drug abuse and agitation for self-determination. We have always preached multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security.”
“Yes, you have criminal trespass. The state should treat it. All we had before Amotekun was police that had the duty to arrest and was not prepared to make an arrest. Things are changing and have changed in Ondo state.
“Today, if you trespass on other people’s land, the Amotekun will go after you and arrest you. They pay compensations to the farmers, and when they fail, they are in court. It is the only way you can send signals to people.
“When you commit a crime, and the hands of law don’t catch up with you, another person will repeat it. I can assure you that when you do not have an effective policing system, there is little or nothing a Governor can do. And the criminal trial is taking too long,” Akeredolu said.
Governor Akeredolu, Governor Nasir El-Rufai, and others were among the panellists at the summit, which centred on tackling the security challenges in the country.