Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, has announced a 90-day ban on all forms of grazing in two communities in Ovia North-East local government area of the State, as an interim measure to forestall further killings and destruction of properties in the affected areas.
The affected communities are Odighi, Odiguetue and environs.
The Governor also sets up a special taskforce to comb and arrest all herdsmen even in forests and communities, for vetting and enumeration.
He announced the ban on Sunday, during a meeting with members of Odighi, Owan and Odigwuetue communities at the palace of the Enogie of Odighi Community.
It would be recalled that one Pastor PLUS was allegedly killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen in his farm at Odighi community last week.
Angry family members of the deceased while protesting the killing, took his corpse in a casket to barricade the entrance into Dennis Osadebey Avenue-Government House in Benin.
According to Governor, the ban became necessary to stop further killings, adding that the duty of his administration is to protect lives and properties of the people of the State.
“We have set up a special taskforce made up of the Army, Police, State Security Service, hunters and vigilante groups to comb the bushes and dislodge squatter camps of killer herdsmen and ensure no grazing takes place in Odighi, Odiguetue communities and environs,” Obaseki said.
He added that within the next two weeks, the thetaskforce will go round the affected communities to get information that will help dislodge the criminals who pose as herdsmen in the forest.
According to him: “Before now Fulani herdsmen were known for carrying sticks around to control their cattle” and lamented that “today some of them have become criminals.”
He said there is need to separate herdsmen from cattle rustlers who steal cattle, invade farms, rape and kill people, and assured that efforts are being made to identify the real herdsmen in the state.
Obaseki said his administration is set to scale up agricultural activities in Odighi Community which was once known as the food basket of the state, and pledged to fix the water system in the area and re-construct the old roads in the community to open up the area for development.
“We have taken the designs of the old roads in these areas and in two weeks’time we will start the re-constructionof the roads. Tomorrow, government officials will be here to check the water system in the communities and fix it so that the people will have access to potable water.