Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu has berated the presidency for its statement against his directive asking herdsmen to leave the state’s forest reserves.
Akeredolu had ordered herdsmen in the state to vacate the forest reserves within a period of seven days counting from Monday, 18th January.
The Governor also banned night grazing as well as highway and under-age grazing in the state.
But the presidency in a statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s media assistant, Garba Shehu, rejected Akeredolu’s ultimatum to herdsmen.
“It will be the least expected to unilaterally oust thousands of herders who have lived all their lives in the state on account of the infiltration of the forests by criminals.
If this were to be the case, rights groups will be right in expressing worries that the action could set off a chain of events which the makers of our constitution foresaw and tried to guard against.,” Garba Shehu said.
In a swift reaction, the Ondo State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said the Presidency statement had stated “unambiguously, the position of the Federal Government.
According to The Punch, Ojogo said: “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 that of power. Our unity is threatened, no doubt.
“It (statement) states in a breath that the governor fights crime with passion while it is prevaricating on the atrocities. 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.”