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Stop Branding Terrorism As Banditry – Akeredolu Warns

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Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, of Ondo State, has warned that the various criminal activities of kidnapping, bombing, and assault on the people in parts of the country being referred to as banditry, must be appropriately addressed as terrorism.

Akeredolu in a statement on Monday in Abuja noted that infiltration of the country’s borders and the recent disruption of train services by bandits must be addressed as terrorism and the perpetrators treated as same.

The governor was quoted as saying this on Monday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja with the theme: “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.”

Akeredolu and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, and others were among the panelists at the summit which centered on addressing the country’s security challenges.

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He contended that a nation with failed security and justice systems was set to fail.

While expressing concern that the dimension of insecurity in the country recently had been surprising, Akeredolu said he had always believed in multi-level policing as the best way of securing the country.

“In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmers and herders clashes and kidnapping for ransom. We have drug abuse and agitation for self-determination.

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“We have always preached the multi-level policing in Ondo State. We believe in layers of security,” he said.

The governor, who explained that though there were criminal trespasses that could be treated by the state, alleged that before the Amotekun corps was established, the police were not always ready to make an arrest.

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“Yes, you have criminal trespass. It should be treated by the state. All we had before Amotekun was the police that had the duty to arrest and were 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, 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,” he said.

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On open grazing, Akeredolu said nomadic pastoralism was 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.

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“Speaking for those of us who have put in place anti-open grazing law. We have our reasons and we have no apologies,” he said.

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