The Nigerian Presidency had on Tuesday waded into the controversy generated by the directive of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, asking herdsmen to leave the state government forest reserve.
In reaction, the Ondo State Government,Elders and the apex Yoruba Sociocultural Organization, Afenifere, did not hesitate to responded to Tuesday’s statement from the presidency.
First, Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, declared that there was no going back on the governor’s orders asking herdsmen to vacate all the forest reserves in the state.
Ojogo further said that the Presidency had stated “unambiguously, the position of the Federal Government.
He added that “The Ondo State Government did not ask Fulani to leave the state. The governor said herdsmen who are unregistered should leave our forests.
“The statement from Garba Shehu is brazen display of emotional attachments and it’s very inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria. We need clearly defined actions on the part of the Federal Government to decimate the erroneous impression that the inspiration of these criminal elements masquerading as herdsmen is the art of power. Our unity is threatened, no doubt.
“The question is, are the herdsmen who are perpetrating murder, kidnapping and robbery more important than government and even the Federal Government in this case? Ethnic nationality and activism on the part of anyone hiding under the Presidency or federal government is an ill wind,” the commissioner said.
In the same vein, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matter, Alhaji Jimoh Dojumo, said, “I want to advise those operating within the forest legally to register with the state government. The truth is that if they (herdsmen) still want to remain in the forest; let them come and register, we want to know the people occupying our forest.”
Also the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, faulted MACBAN’s statement, saying its members must obey the governor’s order.
The Secretary General of the Afenifere, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, pointed out that the governor’s order would go a long way in tackling insecurity in the state
He said, “The Miyetti Allah should not complain about the order, unless they want to give the impression that they support the criminal activities being carried out by some herdsmen in the state.
In addition, The Olowo of Owoland, Ondo State, Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, also commended Akeredolu for the order.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Owo monarch, Mr Sam Adewale, the traditional ruler said, “ As the Chief Security Officer of the state, the governor cannot fold his arms while the citizens are being kidnapped at will by bandits.”