Henceforth, owners of cows that destroy farmlands in the state would be prosecuted and such offending cows auctioned after obtaining court orders.
Commander of the State Security Network, Amotekun, Chief Adetunji Adeleye, who stated this in Akure, at the signing of an agreement for the release of over 250 cows arrested by Amotekun Corps said, ” we would no longer allow negotiation for compensation for farm crops destroyed by cows resulting from illegal grazing on people’s farms. Rather, government, would henceforth prosecute owners of seized cows and auction seized animals after getting court order.
He disclosed that his agency arrested over 250 cows following distress calls and petitions from farmers in Ipogun, Ilara, Owena Dam axis in Ifedore council areas of the state.
Noting that he mobilised his men for the operation, Adeleye explained that he visited the farms and saw the level of havoc done by the herders and their cows.
According to him “the herders destroyed over 300 hectares of farmland with crops including cassava, maize, Cocoyam and yam.
Apart of eating up the leaves and stems of the plants, the herders uproot cassava, Cocoyam and yam tubers which they use in feeding their cows and also take to their camps and cook or roast “.
The stunned Amotekun boss lamented that, “I was amazed when I saw the level of destruction and stealing that they did in this current case. When we got to the farm, the herders started by attacking us, but later they ran away but we succeeded in arresting two of them. They are in our custody. We also arrested over 250 cows, which we brought to our premises here “.
“But to trek for 30 to 40 kilometres every time is not a joke. Not only that we have to trek for this long distance, we have to guide the cows and control traffic on the expressway while leading the cows. So it is not a small job at all. While doing all these, we don’t engage in any financial discussion with either the farmers or the herders. We don’t collect a kobo but we suffer a lot in bringing these cows to our premises in enforcing this law. When this latest incident happened, we brought them together and said unless they signed an undertaking, that after this operation, Amotekun will no longer allow settlement of farmers henceforth because it appears that it is not working.
Adeleyecwarned that, “We will henceforth charge them to court and auction the cow. That is the position of the State Government and the Amotekun Corps as from now. Any herder that destroyed farmland and crops now, we are not going to open the window of opportunity for negotiation for payment of compensation. They would be arrested, the herders would be prosecuted, the cows would become the government property and would be auctioned because the window of love we showed them, they are not reciprocating by complying with agreement reached with the farmers.
“We felt that herders are transacting their business, which they have right to as a Nigerian. Farmers are equally transacting their business, a lot of them invested heavily on this farms.
“However, herders would come overnight and graze on these farms despite government order banning night grazing, underage herders and other illegalities.
Harping on the devastating effect of the irresponsible herders, Adeleye said, “Many of the farmers have died of stroke and hypertension and a lot of them have lost their property because they cannot service the loan they took and invested in the farm. All these affect the socio-economic growth of the South West especially Ondo State, we are not going to tolerate this again.
Chairman of the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Alhaji Garba Bello signed for the herders while Mr. Odeyemi Joseph and three other signed for the farmers