The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has warned herdsmen in the state against engaging in violent activities.
The governor stressed the commitment of his administration to protect lives and properties of the residents of the state.
Mr. Akeredolu who spoke on Sunday during the Armed Forces Remembrance thanksgiving service at the St. David’s Cathedral Anglican Church, Akure, said protecting the citizens was a vow he made to the people when he assumed office.
He said the government would resort to using force should the current efforts to get the herdsmen to behave fail.
“We have been using security agencies to engage the herdsmen to carry out their business peacefully, but when engagement fails, we will use force; we will confront the herdsmen with all we have,” Mr. Akeredolu said.
He condemned the repeated attacks on the farm of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae, by some herdsmen, adding that his government would not allow criminal activities in the state.
Mr. Akeredolu had earlier issued a similar warning on Friday at the flag off of the National Egg Production (NEGPRO) scheme held at Aaye community in Ifedore Local Government Area of the state, when he noted that his government was prepared to tackle the herdsmen menace head-on.
“Our state has had her share of the herdsmen crisis but not on the horrendous scale whose odious effect continues to reverberate throughout the country,” he said.
“Our administration is taking proactive steps to ensure that this obnoxious phenomenon is nipped in the bud.
“We will not tolerate any act of brigandage. We will defend the right of our people to engage farming without let of any hindrance of any sort. We will sanction with impassioned severity any acts which seek to tilt the balance of harmonious coexistence in the state towards anarchy.
“The full weight of law will be brought to bear on criminal elements.”
He also lauded members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, especially the fallen heroes, for laying their lives for the unity of the country.
“We want to appreciate our fallen heroes because they are the reason we are here. They fought for the unity of the country and they deserve our respect and commendation,” he said.
“We must appreciate them because they have made great sacrifice for the living. They have done well. They are the people being sent to the troubled communities in the country to ensure peace.”
Akeredolu appreciated the security agencies for ensuring the success of the Amnesty Programme in the riverine area of the state.
He called for support for men and women of the armed forces who suffered one form of injury or the other in the cause of defending their fatherland.
“We owe them a lot for their sacrifices; they are true defenders,” he said.