Terrorism Should Not Be Branded As Banditry, Says Akeredolu
Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has warned that the various criminal activities of kidnapping, bombing, and assault on the people in some parts of the country which are being referred to as banditry must be appropriately addressed as terrorism.
He gave the warning on Monday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja with the theme: “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.”
Governor Akeredolu stated that infiltration of the nation’s borders and burning down of railway were activities that must be addressed as terrorism, and the perpetrators treated as same.
In his introductory remarks, he contended that a nation with failed security and justice systems was already set to fail.
The governor decried the dimension of insecurity in the country recently, saying he has always believed in multi-level policing as the best way of securing the nation.
“In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde. “Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnap for ransom. We have drug abuse and agitation for self-determination.
“We have always preached the multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security.”
The governor added, “All we had before Amotekun was a police system 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 or farm, 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 the 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.”
‘Grazing With AK-47’
On the recent ban on open grazing, he said nomadic pastoralism was a culture that must be discouraged in the interest of those involved.
Governor Akeredolu insisted 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.
He said, “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’s order that anyone with AK-47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?” the governor queried.
Governor Akeredolu, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, and others were among the panellists at the summit which centred on addressing the security challenges in the country.