Over 37 herdsmen with 5,000 cattle were on Thursday evicted from forest reserves by the Ondo State Government.
The state’s security network, also called Amotekun Corps, which effected the ejection, said the herders failed to comply with the directive of the state government to register before they could be allowed to operate in the area.
Director General of the corps, Adetunji Adeleye, told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday in a telephone interview that the process of effecting the directive of the state government was ongoing.
He said those who failed to cooperate with the corps would leave the forest, even as he noted that a number of the herders were cooperating with Amotekun.
The Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, had earlier ordered that herdsmen grazing in the forest reserves should either register with the appropriate agencies or vacate the reserves.
The governor had also issued a ban on night and under-age grazing in the state as part of measures to curb the prevailing insecurity in the state.
Before Thursday, the herders had refused to vacate the forest reserves, a development which prompted the Amotekun corps to swing into action to evict them from the forest reserves.
It was gathered that the herds and their owners were escorted out of the forests by operatives of the corps.
Mr Adeleye said the eviction would be total as most of the herders had vowed not to comply with the registration order of the state government.
The herdsmen were said to be removed from the Ala, Oda and Ofosu Forests Reserves of the state to neighbouring states.
“Those who felt they cannot comply with out registration have opted to leave the forest,” said Mr Adeleye.
“Those that are staying with their families are going through the processes of registration.”
He noted that the registration will help to determine the criminals from those carrying out their legitimate businesses within the forests.
“That is why we are not through with the registration yet, we need to do the needful in terms of biometrics and all that, to be able to know who is qualified,” he said.
“The position of the government is clear, criminal elements masquerading as herders should vacate the forest.
“We did not say Fulanis, the government is not against any ethnic group.”
The order was given due to the rising cases of kidnapping in the state, traceable to herdsmen operating with AK47 rifles in the forests.
The eviction order had created tensions between the state government and the Presidency, a development that also drew inspiration from the controversies of a similar order in Oyo State.
However, the timely intervention of the Nigerian Governors Forum led by its Chairperson, Kayode Fayemi, had doused tensions and allayed the fears of the herders.
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