The Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Nicholas Tofowomo, has said the herdsmen were still operating in the Ondo forests reserve because Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s eviction order was not backed by law.
The governor had last month issued a quit notice to herdsmen who are hibernating in the state forest reserves to perpetrate criminal activities, especially kidnappings.
But speaking in an interview in Abuja on Friday, Tofowomo said Akeredolu’s eviction order was not effective because it was a mere pronouncement, not backed by law.
He said, “When the governor gave the directive, my thinking was that he would back it up with an executive bill to the Ondo State House of Assembly.
“It is his duty as the Chief Security Officer of the state. If a law is passed in that regard, police would enforce it.
“Now, he also gave an order not backed by law because there is no structure on the ground that could make the police carry out the order.
“When structures are on the ground, people will know that you are serious. We have problems of insecurity in Nigeria because the Nigeria Police has failed. They are just like security guards. They have no vehicles to go to the bush.
“Many state governors collect between N500m and N700m every month as security vote but we don’t know what they do with it.
“They will just buy a few vehicles for the police. As of today, there is no bill against open grazing in Ondo State.
“The bill should involve all the stakeholders to be effective. Traditional rulers should be encouraged to set up vigilante and stop movement of cows.
Tofowomo said the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, has not achieved its objective because governors of the South West region didn’t carry critical stakeholders along at the formative stages.
“I am not part of it as a senator. We have 18 senators from the South-West and none of us was involved. The members of the House of Representatives were not also involved.
“They should have involved a lot of people. They should have carried everybody along. They should have organised a big symposium and the communique at the end of it should indicate that all of us have agreed.
“They just took the bill directly to the Houses of Assembly without the input of stakeholders. We are not part of it. We are just watching them like a film. That is why they cannot tackle insecurity in their states.”
The Senator cautioned against the use of self-defence to tackle the herdsmen menace in the South-West. He said, “Self-defence is a wrong tactic. Those who are advocating it are putting the cart before the horse.
“They should rather tell the governors who are using the Amotekun as bodyguards to fund them and position the corps to tackle the herdsmen.”
The Senator warned those agitating for amnesty for bandits to perish the thought because it would spell doom for the nation.
He said, “Amnesty for repentant bandits can’t work. Where will you find them? They are hiding in thick forests.
“The money you will spend on amnesty should be used to equip the Nigeria Police. We can’t have effective policing when we don’t have adequate number of personnel in the Nigeria Police Force.”