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Open grazing war: Ondo journalists back Akeredolu, demands restructuring

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Piqued by the spate of kidnappings and killings of innocent citizens, as well as wanton destruction of farmlands, Ondo State Media Practitioners Association (OSMEPA) based in Abuja have thrown their weight behind the Governor of Ondo state, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu over his open grazing ban in the State.

Speaking at press conference organized during the association’s general meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the body through its Acting Spokesman, Oba Olasunkanmi John vehemently threw its weight behind the governor as a key promoter of war against the rising insecurity in Nigeria.

The Ondo indigenes with members drawn from various media organizations in Abuja, noted that Akeredolu’s fearless dispositions against killer herdsmen in Nigeria has been second to none among his counterparts.

With theme: “Taming Insecurity, and The Burden on Arakunrin Akeredolu”, OSMEPA highlighted various efforts of the governor both at the State and national level and the vigour in which the executive governor has risen to the challenges.

“It is a truism that the ultimate goal that drives development in any society is security and no nation can develop in an atmosphere of rancour and instability.

“Ondo state, as one of the component states in the country, has had its own fair share of the rising cases of insecurity in Nigeria.

“As a matter of fact, Ondo State has had it worse among the states in the South-Western part of Nigeria as insecurity continues unabated. OSMEPA laments.

While decries levels of criminal invasion of Ondo state by bandits and notorious herdsmen, the journalists highlighted various actions so far taken by Governor Akeredolu to nip kidnappings and wanton killings of innocent citizens in the bud.

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“Our State has suffered various degrees of violence in those hands of criminal elements and marauders in the recent time.

“We recall the kidnap and killings of notable citizens in our state by unidentified bandits; prominent among such was the kidnaped of one of our prominent leaders, Chief Olu Falae.

“We consider kidnap and the killing of some traditional rulers in our state as strange in Yoruba land.

“The killing of the daughter of one of the Yoruba leaders, Late Mrs Funke Olakunrin are among evils too many, perpetrated against our state by killer herdsmen.

“The robbery of innocent travelers who are crisscrossing Ondo state continues unabated due to the strategic location of Ondo state.” It laments.

It would also be recalled that the Governor of Ondo state has been at the forefront of agitations to curtail the excessiveness of killer bandits masquerading as Fulani herdsmen in Ondo state and the nation at large.

Declaring its supports, the body speaks:

“As Ondo state media practitioners operating from the FCT with the interests of our state at heart, we have therefore seen the need to rally round and declare our unflinching support for the Governor at this trying period of insecurity across the country, which Ondo state has suffered most in the southern part of the country.

As the chief security officer of the state, to protect lives and property of the citizens, four years on, though, there were challenges emanating from kidnapping and farmers/herders clashes but they were never insurmountable by Governor Oluwarotime Akeredolu’s administration.

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Worried by the spate of insecurity, governor Akeredolu’s administration championed the establishment of the South West security network code named operation Amotekun to get rid of Kidnapping and other crimes in the southwest states.

OSPEMA, in its investigative efforts, understands that the corps operation is yielding positive results since its establishment after the killing of Mrs Funke Olakunrin, courtesy of the drastic steps of Governor Akeredolu in addressing kidnapping and other crimes. This action, unarguably, triggered similar corp operation in other parts of this country.

Deepening the fight against kidnapping, Governor Akeredolu recently gave a quit notice to all illegal herders in Ondo state forest reserves, asking to register with the government for proper identification or vacate the state.

Many Nigerians, including the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and elderstateman, Chief Olu Falae applauded governor Akeredolu for the quit notice given to all illegal herders in Ondo state forest reserves and berated those trying to change the narrative from the good intention of the governor to curb kidnapping and farmers herders clashes to suit their own selfish purpose(s)

Despite series of attacks hauled at him from other parts of the country, Arakunrin Akeredolu is not perturbed in his determination to rid his state off criminal elements.

In fact, that singular action led some governors in some parts of the country to end up reasoning on the need to abolish open grazing in the country.

Recall that, Tee Leo Ikoro, the police PRO and his counterpart with the Nigeria Security and Civil defence Corps NSCDC, Olufemi Omole, once noted how the present administration has supported the commands with necessary logistics and operational vehicles to stamp out criminality.

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The latest events following the Asaba Resolution has also put the governor is the news lately.

We consider this briefing as timely, and the right time to come out of our shells as an investigative body to declare our support for our governor in the area of insecurity as citizens of the state. OSMEPA declares.

OSMEPA therefore reiterated its unflinching backing and vow to stay strongly behind its governor, particularly as some of the positions of Akeredolu continue to rattles certain gladiators who want the nomadic statuesque of animal pasturing unchanged.

“We want to state categorically here, and we remains resolute in our position supporting the current roles our governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu is playing against wanton killings and kidnap of citizens of Ondo state by herdsmen or their surrogates.

We commend Akeredolu for not sleeping with his two eyes closed at the switchboard and allow stranger herdsmen to take over the state.

We therefore call on the government of Ondo state, and the people of the state to rally round Arakunrin Akeredolu in order to sustain the current synergy being enjoyed among the security operatives in the state.

While we commend Governor Akeredolu’s strides in fighting insecurity and Provision of social protection since his assumption of office in February 24th, 2017, we are calling on all stakeholders in the country to embrace the decision of the Southern governors on the Asaba declaration, particularly on banning of the primitive open grazing style of animal grazing in the country.” OSPEMA appealed.

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