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No Quit Notice To Fulani In South West – Governors

No Quit Notice To Fulani In South West – Governors

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), on Monday, declared that nobody has the right to ask herdsmen to leave any part of the country.

The forum warned against ethnic profiling and urged all stakeholders to coalesce into a single force and tackle insecurity in the country.

It said the order of the Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media.

No Quit Notice To Fulani In South West – Governors
No Quit Notice To Fulani In South West – Governors

At a meeting with officials of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Akure, Ondo State, led by Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who doubles as chairman of the forum, all agreed to work together to give peace a chance.

While governors from the South West agreed that there was no quit order for legitimate herders, MACBAN assured cooperation in fishing out bad eggs among Fulani cattle herders.

There had been claims and counterclaims in the last few days, including threats in the South West especially in Ondo and Oyo states over the spate of insecurity with accusing fingers being pointed at Fulani herders.

While some herders and their leaders were attacked in Oyo following an eviction order by freedom fighter, Sunday Igboho, there were conflicting versions in Ondo.

Fulani leaders in the state had last week said they met with Governor Akeredolu and agreed to work towards exposing criminal elements in the forests, but a message on the Twitter handle of the governor gave a one-week ultimatum to “criminals masquerading as herders to vacate all Ondo forest reserves within one week.”

The ultimatum ended on Monday, a few hours to the meeting of the governors and MACBAM officials.

After the meeting, the governors’ forum said Akeredolu only ordered people “illegally occupying the forest reserves in the state to quit,” while advising genuine herders to register with relevant authorities.

Those in attendance included Governors of Jigawa, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar; Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi; Osun, Adegboyega Oyetola; Oyo, Seyi Makinde and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.

In his opening remarks, Fayemi noted that Akeredolu had not ordered the Fulani to leave Ondo State.

“Many members of MACBAN were born in the South West.

“So, Akeredolu cannot ask Fulani to vacate Ondo State.

“The area concerned is the forest reserves and it is about registration and also to work in line with the law,” he said.

The communiqué

“In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the governors including MACBAN officials reiterated that the security and welfare of the people of Nigeria remained the primary purpose of government as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“Insecurity is a national challenge and not peculiar to any tribe or region but must be addressed by the cooperation of all.

“The order of the Ondo State governor was misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media. He only ordered those occupying the forest reserves in Ondo State illegally to quit.

“Criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status.

“There is the need to build a partnership for peace and security with MACBAN and jointly wage war against criminality.

“No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality,” the communiqué said.

The meeting further agreed that MACBAN is a peace-loving, law-abiding organisation, which does not harbour or condone criminals and reiterated its readiness to resolve contentious issues saying night grazing should be banned henceforth.

“MACBAN also suffers insecurity and kidnapping and thus desire peaceful coexistence.

“MACBAN is ready for any peaceful move by the states to engender security.

“There must be an enduring framework with MACBAN in a way that will help address security issues.”

The attendees concluded that a standing committee comprising of farmers, MACBAN and the government should be set up in each state (where they don’t exist) to ensure synergy and result.

Akeredolu, in his speech, said over 70,000 farmers had registered with the state government and urged genuine herders to do same.

According to him, the government must identify those in the forest to be sure criminality was tackled.

‘We welcome agreement’

In his reaction, MACBAN’s National Secretary, Usman Baba Ngelzarma, told Daily Trust that the association welcomed the agreements reached during the meeting.

“We are going to stay back in Akure and meet with the governor and state government officials to discuss the framework for the implementation of the terms of the agreement reached,” he said.

Intelligence report

Meanwhile, a source at the meeting, who spoke in confidence, said the decision to issue an ultimatum for the vacation of forest reserves by the governor followed an intelligence report of the movement of a large number of strange people into the area.

“Recently, the Ondo State officials had stopped trailers load of strange-looking people moving into the state who could not explain where they were going and what was their mission in the state.

“The people were subsequently asked to turn back but were later found to have sneaked back into the forest.

“Intelligence reports showed that they had acquired arms and were carrying out criminal activities in the area,” he said.

A similar reason ‘Okada’ was banned in Lagos, another south-west state.

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