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Banditry Act Must Be Addressed As Terrorism, Says Akeredolu

Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) the Governor of Ondo State, has faulted the calling of people who kill, rape, burn houses and kidnap Nigerians, bandits adding that they are nothing but terrorists.

According to him,  the various criminal activities of kidnapping, bombing and assault on innocent Nigerians are being referred to as banditry must be appropriately addressed as terrorism.

He pointed out that the infiltration of the country’s borders and burning down of railways are activities that must be addressed as terrorism and the perpetrators treated as same.

Akeredolu stated this at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit held in Abuja with the theme: “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.”

This was disclosed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde in a statement titled, ‘Stop branding terrorism as banditry, Akeredolu warns.’

The statement read in part, “In his introductory remarks, Arakunrin Akeredolu contended that a nation with failed security and justice systems is already 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 nation.”

The statement quoted the Governor as saying, “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 stated that criminal trespasses can be tackled by the state, stressing that before the Amotekun corps was established, the Police were not always ready to make arrests.

“Yes, you have trespassed. Criminal trespass on other people’s land or farm. It falls within the purview of matters that should be treated by the state. But, 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 people.

“When you commit a crime and the hands of 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,” Akeredolu said.

He went on to speak against nomadic pastoralists which he described as 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.

He said, ”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 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 order that anyone with Ak47 should be arrested, how many have been arrested?”

The summit which centred on addressing the security challenges in the country also had in attendance the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.

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