From Fred Itua, Abuja
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has warned that banditry in the form of kidnapping, bombing and assault across the country must be addressed as acts of terrorism.
Governor Akeredolu said the infiltration of the country’s borders and destruction of rail lines are activities that must be addressed as acts of terrorism.
The governor spoke on Monday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja with the theme “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now”.
Governor Akeredolu and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, and others were among panellists at the summit which centred on addressing the security challenges in the country.
In his introductory remarks, Governor Akeredolu contended that a nation with failed security and justice systems is set to fail.
While lamenting that the dimension of insecurity in the country recently has been surprising, the Governor said he has always believed in multi-level policing as the best way of securing the country.
‘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,’ the governor said.
The governor, who explained that although there are criminal trespasses that can be treated by the state, stressed that before the Amotekun corps was established, the Police were not always ready to make arrests.
‘Yes, you have criminal trespass. It should be treated by the state. 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 really 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 the 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,’ Governor Akeredolu said.
Speaking on the recent ban on open grazing, Governor Akeredolu said nomadic pastoralist is a culture that must be discouraged in the interest of those involved.
He noted that the issue of grazing routes was not a welcome conversation, adding that those were issues of the past that must not be brought back to the fore.
‘Speaking for those of us who have put in place anti-open grazing law. We have our reasons and we have no apologies.
‘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 pastoralism 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’s order that anyone with AK-47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?,’ the governor stated.