Owners of cows that destroy farmlands in Ondo state would henceforth be prosecuted and their cows auctioned.
Commander of the State Security Network, Amotekun, Adetunji Adeleye said this in Akure, the state capital.
Adeleye speaking at the signing of agreement for the release of over 250 cows arrested by Amotekun Corps said: ”we’ll no longer allow negotiation for compensation for farm crops destroyed by cows resulting from illegal grazing on people’s farms.
“Rather, government, will henceforth prosecute owners of seized cows and auction seized animals after getting court order.
Adeleye said the Amotekun Corps, arrested over 250 cows following distress calls and petitions by farmers in Ipogun, Ilara, Owena Dam axis in Ifedore council area of the state.
Adeleye noted 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 leaves and stems of the plants, the herders uprooted cassava, cocoyam and yam tubers which they used in feeding their cows and also took to their camps and cooked or roasted.
“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 had to trek the long distance, we had to guide the cows and control traffic on the expressway, while leading the cows. So it was not a small job at all.
“While doing all these, we didn’t engage in any financial discussion with either the farmers or the herders. We didn’t collect a kobo but we suffered 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’s not working.
“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 destroys farmland and crops now, we are not going to open the window of opportunity for negotiation for payment of compensation.
“They’ll be arrested, the herders will be prosecuted, the cows will become government property and will 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 Nigerians. Farmers are equally transacting their business, a lot of them invested heavily on their farms.
“However, herders would come overnight and graze on these farms despite government order banning night grazing, underage herders and other illegalities.
“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 Southwest especially Ondo State. We are not going to tolerate this again.
“Collecting money and giving to farmers does not pay. The money paid to farmers as compensation is not up to one per cent of the crops destroyed,” Adeleye said.
Vanguard reveal that Chairman of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Garba Bello signed for the herders, while Odeyemi Joseph and three others signed for the farmers