Akoko Edo Forum (AEF), a group of stakeholders in Akoko Edo LGA of Edo, has asked the state government to pass the anti-open grazing bill.

The group said the law will check the “high level of insecurity, kidnapping, and infiltration of the LGA by herders”.

In a communique issued by Mary Opii and Edith Aiyede, members of the group, said the demand was made after its inaugural meeting last Saturday.

The forum also inaugurated a committee to “moderate and collate suggestions” that will aid the development of the LGA.

According to the group, the LGA is the “oldest” in the country but has the “unenviable status as one of the least developed”.

“The meeting provided the attendees opportunity to discuss the core objectives of the Forum as a vehicle and the desire to support the developmental trajectory of the Akoko Edo Local Government Area (LGA),” the communique reads.

“It is said to be the oldest local government in Nigeria but has the unenviable status as one of the least developed amongst the 774 local government areas in the country.

“At the end of the inaugural meeting, AEF resolved that Akoko Edo people through AEF have become active stakeholders in the affairs of the LGA and will no longer allow the neglect and underdevelopment of the LGA to continue”.

The forum said a “working document” was adopted to serve as the development blueprint for all sectors of the LGA.

The group “condemned the high level of insecurity, kidnapping, and infiltration of the LGA by herders and the recent shooting of Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Igarra,” adding that they have resolved to “immediately raise funds to assist the wounded DPO”.

They said a security committee has been empowered to develop a sustainable security plan for the LGA and “liaise with Akoko Edo Vigilantes in helping to curb the activities of kidnappers and called on the Edo State Government to urgently add Akoko Edo Vigilantes into the Edo Vigilante Security Network. Also, AEF to key into Edo State’s recent announcement to employ 10,000 people as vigilantes and equip same”.

“Called on Edo State Government to enact the Anti-open grazing law as agreed by the Southern Governors. Work with neighbouring states and LGAs to address the security challenges and called on our Royal Fathers to ensure herdsmen do not use their domains as settlement and the profiling of youths in the LGA to address the increasing acts of criminality in the area,” the group said.

The forum asked lawmakers to facilitate the development of the LGA.

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