The Presidency, through President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide, Garba Shehu, has countered the directive issued by the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu to herdsmen to vacate the State’s forest reserves.
Switch Nigeria had reported a day ago that the Governor, in order to curtail the increase in the activities of bandits and kidnappers in the State, issued an order to all herdsmen residing in the State to register with the State Government or leave the State within a period of seven days.
However, according to a statement released by the Federal Government on Tuesday, the Governor was told that no such thing will happen.
“Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, a seasoned lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and indeed, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has fought crime in his state with passion and commitment, greater sensitivity and compassion for the four years he has run its affairs and, in our view, 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,” the statement partly read.
“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.”
“We want to make it clear that kidnapping, banditry and rustling are crimes, no matter the motive or who is involved. But, to define crime from the nameplates, as a number of commentators have erroneously done- which group they belong to, the language they speak, their geographical location or their faith is atavistic and cruel.”