Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State on Sunday announced a ban on grazing in some communities attacked by suspected herdsmen in the state.
The affected communities include Odighi and Odiguete, in the Ovia North-East Local Government Area of the state.
Obaseki also ordered the arrest of any erring herdsman during the period of the ban, which he said would last for 90 days to enable the government to identify those lawfully allowed to graze in the areas so as to prevent further attacks.
The governor’s order came 48 hours after residents of Odighi community protested at the Government House against the killing of a pastor, the late Pius Eromosele, by suspected herdsmen.
The protesters, who laid the coffin of the deceased at the entrance to the Government House, had called for the arrest and prosecution of the killers.
Speaking during a meeting with members of the Odighi, Owan and Odigwuetue communities at the palace of the Enogie of Odighi, the governor said the ban became necessary to stop further killings as the duty of his administration was to protect the lives and property of the people.
He also stated that a special task force, comprising various security agencies, would go round the affected communities within two weeks to get information that would help dislodge the criminals who posed as herdsmen in the forest.
He stressed the need to separate herdsmen from cattle rustlers, whom he said stole cattle, invaded farms, raped and killed people, even as he assured that efforts were being made to identify the “real herdsmen” in the state.