Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has warned that his administration will no longer tolerate any action of brigandage by the Fulani herdsmen in the state.
He said this following killings, rape of wives and daughters of farmers and destruction of several acres of farmlands in Ondo state by the rampaging herdsmen.
Akeredolu, who warned that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on criminal elements, said “we will not tolerate any act of brigandage. We will defend the right of our people to engage in farming without let or hindrance of any sort.”
He said this during the flag off of the National Egg Production Scheme, NEPRO, by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh at Aaye community in the ljare area of the state.
Promising to protect citizens with “such fervour as expected of true representatives”, the governor said his government will sanction with “impassioned severity any acts which seek to tilt the balance of harmonious coexistence in the state towards anarchy.”
While describing as unfortunate the recurrence of clashes between farmers and herdsmen, Akeredolu said “security forces have been fully mobilised to prevent the nefarious activities of nation wreckers in our state.”
He lamented that “our state has had her share of the crisis but not on the horrendous scale whose odious effect continues to reverberate throughout the country.”
He, however, assured that “our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that this obnoxious phenomenon is nipped in the bud.
“While we encourage all those with legitimate intentions to visit our space, we intend to clear the doubt of anyone who may wish to perpetrate crime under nebulous guises.”
“We, therefore, enjoin our people to go about their normal businesses and report, promptly, any suspicious movement of undesirable elements in their communities. All of us owe our country a duty to ensure peace while not ignoring issues of justice and equity”, he said.
Akeredolu said a proposed N42 billion egg powder factory would be set up in Emure area of the state and is billed to kick off on February 22 this year.
Earlier, the Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh said the scheme is a public-private partnership initiative designed to create jobs for youths in Nigeria.
Ogbeh said: “We have neglected agriculture for too long because of oil and gas. Now, our youths are jobless because we have imbibed the culture of doing nothing. Our youths walk into voluntary slavery in Libya, South Africa and other countries in the world because no other sector can provide the jobs agriculture could provide.”
A cheque of N564 million was presented to 135 farmers during the flag-off ceremony.