In apparent response to the spate of kidnappings in the state and the consequent loss of life of an abducted Catholic priest, the Edo State government has adopted tough measures to stem the ugly trend.
Traditional rulers in the state have been mandated to engage local hunters and vigilantes to comb all forests and flush out killer herdsmen suspected to be Fulani who have been terrorising the people.
The government also directed the leadership of the 18 local government councils in the state to provide stipends and needed logistics for vigilante teams and hunters on a monthly basis to carry out their new mandate.
It is a notorious fact that suspected killer herdsmen and their evil local collaborators are camped in the forests across the state from where they launch attacks on hapless Nigerians.
These measures were part of the resolutions reached at an emergency security meeting hosted by the acting governor of the state, Philip Shaibu, attended by traditional rulers, representatives of security agencies, and opinion leaders.
Part of the resolutions made available to journalists on Sunday in Benin, said traditional rulers would henceforth be held responsible for any act of kidnapping and terrorism that occurs in their domain.
It was also resolved “That everybody currently residing in any forest in Edo State in the guise of camping should vacate such areas with immediate effect. The acting Governor has mandated all acting LGC heads to use all the security apparatus, including the police, army, vigilante groups, hunters and others to forcefully remove any erring groups or individuals within the next ten days.
“That henceforth, any traditional ruler and village head who have collected money from any herdsmen therefore permitting any form of camping or grazing in any Edo State forest, should refund such money and ask the herdsmen to leave with immediate effect.”
According to the resolution, after 10 days from the day of the meeting, traditional rulers would be held responsible for kidnappings in their areas.